Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Encouragement, Critique, and Networking for Creative Writers

Hayley Morris
IWC would like to highlight the Highland Writers Group this week.
I spoke with Gordon Stamper of Highland Writers Group (HWG) and would like to share some more information about the group and what they do.
The group was first established by Larry and Sharon Ginensky in 1997; however, six years ago, Gordon and his wife, Heather, took over the co-moderating duties. Gordon said, “…although we have changed over time and may meet in different locations, the dues-free and free-spirit attitude of Highland Writers Group still abides.” While the group does not have a specific mission statement, Gordon added that the group is here to “provide encouragement, critique, and networking for creative writers who are serious about exploring their craft.”
HWG meets on Saturdays. Meetings are held at the Grindhouse Café in Griffith at 3:30 pm on the first and third Saturdays of the month. On the second and fourth Saturdays, the meetings are held at the Blackbird Café in Valparaiso, also at 3:30 pm. At the weekly meetings, members generally socialize for the first half hour and talk about writing news. HWG members then pass around copies of their writing pieces and read them aloud to other members. This, then, is followed by a section of critique for the member’s work, and this cycle is repeated until the members have finished. Typically, meetings end around 6:00 and last no later than 6:30. Highland Writers Group members write in all creative genres—short and novel-length from creative nonfiction to poetry and fiction. Three hours of quality reading and writing, and a community of writers sharing their work—what could be more rewarding than this?
In addition, as an affiliated group of Indiana Writers’ Consortium, members of HWG have, in the past, served as officers, board members, and active volunteers in the organization. HWG also has special holiday editions of its meetings. Gordon said, “This year, HWG will have special Saturday meetings marking the unique poetic and storytelling possibilities for St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween.”
All of Highland Writers Group’s activities and the events they participate in are valued highly as ways to encourage, critique, and network with creative writers. HWG works together to do all of those things, “and we try to do it with a sense of humor when we can,” Gordon adds.
This kind of community creates an environment that allows creativity to flow and inspires new creative works—which keeps writers writing and encourages writing enthusiasts to emerge.

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