All the best parties happen in the kitchen…

We live at the heart of a digital revolution comparable to the invention of printing in the Middle Ages. Traditional landscapes of story-telling and publishing are changing rapidly, but some things don’t change and our need for community is one of them. Writing is still seen as a solitary occupation – and often the hard graft of it is. Earning a living or even a readership from what we do is never certain, but if you’re a writer it’s important you know that the work you’re doing matters, even when you think you’re not doing it very well (and remember even the best artists can be their own worst critics – I still tear up when I see this scene of the Doctor taking Van Gogh to the Musée d’Orsay).

Creativity never takes place in a vacuum and it’s a simple fact that most of us work better when we are able to share drafts and bounce ideas off others in a community that encourages us to continue making, and sharing, our writing with the world. There are plenty of great resources on the web to help you write, but no substitutes for real community and connection with people who care about the things you do.

‘Friendship begins in that moment when one person says to another:
‘What! You too?’ I thought I was the only one…’ (C.S. Lewis)

If you are a writer, here are some links to various communities, both in London and further afield, that might help you find your people:

The Arvon Foundation (UK-wide, organises retreats and courses)
Spread the Word (home to the London Writers’ Network)
The London Library (there’s a cost to join, but Carlyle memberships are available)
The Poetry Cafe (London-based, home to the Poetry Society)
South London Writers’ Group (looks good, but I haven’t been yet!)
Goldsmiths Writers Centre (partnering with Peckham’s Literary Kitchen)
TMC Artists (a new London-based collective I’ve heard good things about)
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month collective, with local and virtual communities)
Foundation Bristol (Bristol-based Anglican community which creates space for artists, including writers)
The Arts Centre Group and Bard School (both London-based groups for Christian artists, including writers)
The Free Word Centre (an international organisation dedicated to literature and free expression)
The Literary and Philosophical Society (Newcastle-based, independent library with literary events)
CityLit (not strictly a writing community per se, but runs creative writing courses at great value)

I’m a member of a few informal arts groups in Central and South East London, and also organise events for writers in Peckham from time to time. If you are based in London and would like to find out more do get in touch.