Unlike other writing groups – which focus on constructive criticism, editing and re-writes – the Laurel group’s focus is on setting goals and targets for writing, improving time management and generally encouraging writers to write. The laid-back atmosphere of World Ground Café, with its art covered sunshine-colored walls and it’s current Sayra Reyes exhibit, creates a dedicated time and space for writing in the lives of these busy women, who often have too many distractions at home to get to the business of writing.
Andrea Henderson, founder of the Laurel Women’s Writing Group, has been an educator for twelve years was raised in Oakland and is currently working on a memoir. She conceived of the group as a way to create a structure to encourage her to write on the regular. The group, which meets monthly at the World Ground Café in the Laurel District, focuses on encouraging its members to write consistently.
“I am a writer, and I wanted to commit more time to writing,” explained Henderson. “My other writer’s group is social, it’s my friends we share and it’s great. What we don’t do is write. The Laurel Women’s Writing Group will allow writers creative space and keep them consistent. A lot of times we say we don’t have time to write, but in this group we are making time.”
The ladies hold down a table at the back of the arty local café located at 3726 MacArthur Blvd in Oakland, California from 5:30 pm until closing time at 8:00 pm every second Friday. The giant wooden table seats eight comfortably, and creates a cozy environment for the writers to create in. Armed with journals, spiral binders and laptops, the women (and sometimes girls) sit quietly extended periods of free writing or prompted writing. At the end of the monthly meetings, they share the writing with each other.
Conceived in October 2012, the group didn’t get off the ground until February 2013, when it had its first meeting. Three months later, due to its actual composition, the group formally adopted its informal name, “Laurel Women’s Writing Group.” Although it is currently composed solely of women, the Laurel Women’s Writing Group not closed to men.
“If we ever get a regular male member, we can always just change the name,” Henderson joked.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the group, email Henderson at email@example.com or just show up to the meeting and introduce yourself.
The next meeting is Friday, May 10, 2013 at 5:30 pm.