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Regular news and insight from our many poets, writers, educators and facilitators

29 March 2019

Posted by Charlotte Fodor

A Writing Space for All Women: How We Can Help You

“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank one.” Jodi Picoult

The life of a writer can often feel quite solitary.

This isn’t something that we should be afraid of - sometimes shutting off from the world for a few hours is exactly what we need.  When inspiration calls, I personally love a date with my notepad in the quiet. Especially with this lovely weather that we’re having!

But with our busy schedules, not having enough time in the day to write can occasionally hold us back. Even when we force ourselves to sit down with our pens, there are times when it can be a real struggle to get the words floating around in our heads onto the page – and harder still with no writers around to rant to about it. I, for one, am the worst person for procrastinating and often find myself doing something else. Switching off for some, then, isn’t as easy as it sounds – there will always be an email to answer, or task around the house to do.

And this is why I believe that So:Write Women could help you with your writing journey. Our regular meetups in Southampton – both at the Art House and Southampton Central Library – offer a writing routine that many need in order to stay inspired. If you are walking into So:Write Women with a neglected journal, you will leave the session with something on your page – and that’s progress, no matter how small it may seem. I have heard writers in our groups mention that the origins for some of their novels came from prompts in So:Write Women groups. Sometimes, a prompt is all you need for that urgent spark of, ‘I need to write this down, right now.’ And before you know it, you’re going somewhere with an idea that has seemingly sprung out of nowhere (or has most likely been lying dormant in your head for a long time).

I joined So:Write Women as an assistant facilitator and blogger in the winter of 2017. Our talented facilitator and novelist Joanna Barnard, who runs the sessions, really helped me to see what a writing community is about. It is a place where we are all there with you, with our shared love for literature and dream of setting the world alight with our prose and poetry. There is something very comforting about a shared women’s space. We can talk freely about women’s issues and channel them into our work. In an unsettling political climate, coming together to unlock our voices onto the page is more important than ever.

We do not judge, we work through the ups and downs that writing can bring. We celebrate our successes and remind ourselves, during those moments where writer’s block or a competition rejection feels sore, that we’re in this together – doing what we love. The women in our groups come from all walks of life and are at different stages in their creative journeys, so there is a space for all women who love to write.

There is no pressure to read your work to the group, but when our writers do, it is wonderful to see how a small prompt can bring about an entire scene of a story. Do read our previous So:Write Women blogs – they will give you a flavour what we get up to! We try out an assortment of different writing exercises each month to keep you all motivated.

Outside of So:Write Women, The Artful Scribe always has something exciting happening in and around Hampshire. This March, I attended a fantastic workshop hosted by poet Susan Richardson. I learnt about Ecopoetry and Animal Language, which I now have a deep appreciation and love for.

I particularly enjoyed relying on sound to convey the perspective of an animal and translate their thoughts onto the page. This approach to writing exposed me to a way of writing that I had not considered before and demonstrated just how experimental a work can become if you wish it to be.

In other news

We are delighted to hear that one of our So:Write Women writers, Damhnait, will have her flash fiction pamphlet, ‘The Neverlands’ published on 8th April by V Press. Congratulations!


Tickets for the Winchester Writer’s Festival (14-16 June) are now on sale. Information about the programme and how to book can be found here.

The So:Write Women meet on the first Thursday of every month at the Art House Cafe in Southampton, from 11.00am-1.00pm, and on the third Saturday at the Central Library, from 10.15am-12.15pm. Why not come along?


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