At today's Young Writer session, two of the mums came up to me at different times and asked why I don't take the Young Writer Concept on the road, incorporating it into schools, local clubs and libraries. I would so love to do this but I really am not sure how to go about it. One of the mums suggested I take a proposal to the local authority, including the newspaper articles, the published book, how it began and how it is run etc etc etc - to see if I could secure some funding. The other asked me some time ago to put a presentation together that she can take to the head teacher at her son's school to maybe take it further there - but with the redundancy, now-totally-kaput-day-job (I finished there yesterday) plus the hunt for a new job (I have a mortgage too) - I didn't get the chance. I have promised I will do one for her (and I truly will) before the next session. But how to proceed from there?
I really want this whole thing to be a huge success. I want to encourage people to set up other groups, because they are so desperately needed if we are to secure the next generation of Rowlings, Pullmans, Donaldsons, Dahls and Meyers. Even in the wake of the electronic publishing phenomena, writers and poets will always be a necessity and there is very little in the way of active Creative Writing groups for children out there - out of the school environment - where they can work with real writers and poets and learn about genres, deadlines and developing one's own style etc. Sure there are websites and quite a lot of online and local competitions for the under-18s to enter (but beware the scammers who only want your money); but that's not quite the same as getting to actually speak to someone, getting real feedback and - most importantly of all - working alongside others in that age group where they can feed off and inspire each other. I have done talks and workshops at schools and I know there is huge interest in the concept - and now I have also proved such a group can not only be done, but thrive.
So here is my request - any other writers out there - please, please PLEASE get in touch with me and give me your feedback on this. You don't have to be rich and famous, or published. You don't even have to write specifically for children. You may well have a son, daughter or grandchild who has a real love of Creative Writing but don't know where else to turn for tangible support and encouragement for that child. Let me know if you think other Young Writer groups could work. Maybe you could even start one?
The more feedback I get the bigger the clout, so tell your friends, relations, teachers, libraians, local writing group members, other writers, poets, publishers, editors, the W.I, brownies, scouts, beavers, guides - tell as many people as you can to get in touch with me and let's see how far we can take this. There are future writers about who may never get the chance to follow their dream. But Addiscombe Young Writers has done that and you can help others to do it too.
Looking forward to hearing from you. Tell the World The World Needs Writers!
Good Writing everyone - and thank you in advance - and thanks, too, to those two mums for relighting a fire in my belly.