By Monet Jones
Columbia III Chapter
Our scheduled meeting on Tuesday, September 22, 2015, marked the beginning of Columbia III’s fifth year. During the four years of the chapter’s existence, according to memory and incomplete records, 34 people have attended at least two meetings. Of those attending, three achieved doctorates, five teach or taught public school, one is a professor, one is a retired pastor and leader, and others are involved in business and industry. Nine are published authors.
We currently have eleven regular attendees, four occasional, and three voicing intent to join us in the coming weeks. These numbers mean we’re at full membership since we can only critique nine writings in a normal session. However, if you’re interested in joining us, contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org We’ll make every effort to accommodate you.
For most of our four years, our meetings have taken place in the John Platt Educational Building of Spring Valley Baptist Church. We are very appreciative of their willingness to allow us the use of these excellent facilities.
After six-and-a-half years in the Navy, five in industry, and 32 as a teacher in public schools, I set about writing the novel impatiently restrained within me. Ignorance allowed me to think the task would be easy. Three years and several editors later I came to the realization that writing a novel entailed more than typing ideas on a computer. Sharing one’s thoughts involves more than telling a story
I needed help and training. I searched online for writing groups and stumbled across SCWW. Attending Columbia chapter II, I found some as ignorant as I was, some who knew how to write, and some who delighted in pointing out my ineptness. I learned from each group.
After a few years of maneuvering through major traffic to get to meetings at Cola II, I investigated the possibility of starting a chapter closer to home. Ginny Padgett, President of SCWW and Cola II and Steve Gordy, SCWW chapter liaison at the time, helped me get started.
Several months of planning resulted in our initial workshop at the Summit Branch of Richland County Public Library. The six in attendance included Ginny Padgett who came to show her support.
I have no doubt that attending writing workshops has developed my writing abilities. Sometimes I leave a critique session feeling assaulted and discouraged. My precious six pages of writing have been vilified. Sometimes I leave glowing from the praises of my beautiful syntax. I learn more from the former but appreciate sparing amounts of the latter. In great part due to the interaction of the chapter members from Cola II and Cola III, I am now a few months away from publishing my third novel.
I hope this brief history will encourage others in similar situations to investigate the possibility of starting a nearby local SCWW chapter. It ain’t easy, but it’s worth it.