I attended my first meeting of the Manitoba Writers’ Guild on Saturday. I just became an official member of the group a few weeks ago. I want to pursue my interest in writing now that I have retired from teaching and joining the Writers’ Guild seemed a good way to become more connected with what was going on in the writing world in Winnipeg. Saturday was their annual meeting and I learned about some of the projects sponsored by the Guild.
They have a website and if you are a member you can post a profile and a link to your personal website or blog. Here’s mine. The guild offers workshops where writers can work on manuscripts together or receive advice from experts. They have a mentorship program named in honor of a former member and new writers can apply for an opportunity to be mentored by a more seasoned author as they work on a specific writing project. They offer awards to Manitoba writers each year and last spring held a writers symposium on the Canadian Mennonite University Campus. A nice bonus of becoming a member is you get a free readers reward card from the McNally Robinson Bookstore. The guild publishes a regular newsletter that keeps member abreast of all kinds of writing opportunities and events in Winnipeg.
I met some interesting fellow writers on Saturday and from them learned about grants, retreats and workshops available for Manitoba writers. I look forward to meeting more members of the guild at future events.
The meeting ended with a presentation by songwriter Lindsay White who talked to us about how she writes song lyrics. She compared it to the game Jenga where you create and recreate a tower by pulling out blocks and putting them in different spots. She collects ideas from all kinds of places and records them in a notebook which she publishes online in a blog. Those ideas get put together in various ways to make her songs. The members of her band serve as her editors. Sometimes she said her songs change so much from her initial idea till the finished product that she hardly recognizes the final song. One of Lindsay’s projects is doing workshops for high school students to help them become song writers. She wants them to believe they can be poets.
When I lived in Hong Kong I was a member of the Hong Kong Women in Publishing group and it was a great way for me to connect with other women in the city who were involved with writing, publishing and editing. We had monthly meetings with speakers-sometimes they were authors, book editors or bloggers. Every year the organization published an anthology of work contributed by members called Imprint and I was fortunate enough to have my work featured in it. My involvement with the Hong Kong group inspired me to look for a similar organization here in Winnipeg.
Through the Manitoba Writers’ Guild newsletter I have already made a connection with a group that meets bi-weekly to work on writing for children and I am looking forward to attending my first meeting next week. I’ll keep you posted.
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