Welcome to Week 38 of The 52 Week Love Project – Acts of Kindness. The project designed to recognize 52 inspiring humans who are giving back to our community – whether in a small way or by creating a movement for change and inspiration.
Introducing – Andrea: The creator of Peninsula Writers’ Club- a community writing group offering support, company, connection, guidance and focus in the coastal region of the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. This is Andrea’s insights on self Doubt:
‘Everyone doubts themselves, it’s just how you move through it, apply new learnings and inspire yourself to be better that matters.’
WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN?
It all started with two writers connecting over Instagram in a regional town on the Mornington Peninsula, Vic in 2015.
I’m a copywriter and children’s author and Nikki Fisher is a food writer. We both love writing, associating with other writers and the collective inspiration, as well as learning new skills.
What we didn’t love was the commute to the city to attend workshops and hear from experienced authors.
As busy mums with our own businesses, we were having a hard time fitting our creative dreams in their too, especially when you added an extra commute or costs.
So, we met for a cuppa and became the accidental Founders of the Peninsula Writers’ Club with the vision to bring the writing world to us.
We set up a dinner-party style event with a ‘patron’ restaurant, sent the word out and a few mates turned up, bringing their mates. We worked hard to attract experiences authors down to share their journeys and from there the adventure took flight.
4 years later we’ve hosted over 55 guest speaker events, writing meet-ups, workshops and community collaboration writing initiatives for our regional area.
I’m now flying solo as the Founder as Nikki is focussing on other pursuits, but I don’t feel lonely in the role. I am surrounded by such an invigorating community of writers who 4 years ago I didn’t even know existed. It is a pleasure to seek out local opportunities and collaborations. I know the Peninsula Writers’ Club far surpasses our original vision and it has ripple effects in our creative community.
It’s like we were all waiting for each other to step behind our keyboard screens and connect.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
We are a community writing group offering support, company, connection, guidance and focus in the coastal region of the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria.
From the get-go, we have been clear in our direction and professional in how we deliver opportunities. We wanted to create something that appealed to all writers no matter where we all are in our journey. And we wanted to make it accessible, local and welcoming.
Amateur, aspiring and professional writers all share elbow room at the writing table when we gather to listen to guest speaking authors or write our own work during our meet-ups.
Purely run on volunteer energy, we share our events on a website and social media.
We’ve also had a successful series of grants through Mornington Peninsula Shire and Writers Victoria that helped us build our website and host regional writing workshops. It took a while for this to happen but the results have paid off with local aspiring and established writers tracking us down more easily, and the wider community sharing our events as well.
We are now sought out as a group to be involved with local collaborations and spoken word opportunities.
Our forum is all about supporting while creating.
Copywriters, romance writers, children’s and YA writers, poets, journalists, aspiring writers, history and memoir writers, diary scribblers, dystopian, crime and horror writers, how-to guide book writers and those who didn’t know what they wanted to write but liked holding a pen have all turned up at our events.
We have members in their late 70’s who have been looking for this all their lives, new parents trying to squeeze in writing time, professional journalists and content writers looking for passion project space and a great number of blokes who struggled to find writing company. I also love that we rub shoulders with writers with higher profiles who are just as respectful of all of our journeys.
Our membership is free at present, participants pay their own costs along the way for food, drink and books or workshops, and the results are priceless.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU?
The sheer creativity and brilliance of writer’s inspires me. Their ability to tell stories, to makes sense of the world, to be a portal for escapism, and the bravery in exposing yourself and your talent on a page for others to read.
Writing can be a really lonely pursuit, and I am constantly speaking with other writers who feel a sense of isolation . So, I guess I was all about connecting us solitary writing souls, as well as making the opportunities for writers in my region accessible and achievable.
I also often read successful writers and authors thanking their own writer’s groups for their support. I know it’s an important part of the journey in believing in yourself and your skills. Our own patron, Wendy Orr, herself a successful author wished there was a group like ours for her when she first started out. Hearing those comments inspires me to keep evolving our opportunities.
We’ve had people come to our events who confess they were scared to call themselves a writer or felt intimidated by others. And we’ve had guest authors tell us just how welcomed and supported they felt by such a receptive crowd.
I love listening to the chatter when we gather. We all applaud each other’s publishing successes and check in on each other during pitches and rejection times, and there’s a constant brain pick during chatter of resources and contacts too.
Knowing this is a welcoming, celebratory space for so many unique and incredible writing voices in my community gives me a lot of joy. I’ve also helped create a space that reminds me to put my own head down and write towards my dreams in great company.
HOW DO YOU GET PAST SELF DOUBT?
I remind myself that we all have doubt. Even the greatest leaders, orators and change makers. Doubt is healthy – it keeps us on our toes. I’ve very fortunate that I have surrounded myself with incredibly insightful, energetic and experienced people in my life – professionally and personally.
They are my self-doubt deflectors.
My fellow writing club members are integral to that deflection too.
Listen to keyboards clacking away next to you, and watching others furrow their brows while sorting out plot twists and character developments is like training with elite athletes. You feel inspired to be your best writing self when you are surrounded by other writing souls.
That helps eliminate the self-doubt for me.
Everyone one of our guests speakers talks about their own doubt journey and we take heart from that as well. Everyone doubts themselves, it’s just how you move through it, apply new learnings and inspire yourself to be better that matters.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS WHO WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE/CHANGE IN THE WORLD?
These little nuggets are my go-to pieces of wisdom:-
- Every cause matters if it makes a difference. Even if that difference is to just a handful of people.
- If you can find a co-pilot to share your change-maker vision, buckle up with them and enjoy the ride. Co-founding shares the load – because behind all of those ideas there’s a tonne of paperwork to be done and conversations to be had.
- Have a clear and direct vision and set of values that define your cause. That way it’s easier to explain it to others when you want them to join you or support you.
- Network your socks off. There’s so much success to be had with sharing your cause with others in community forums and professional spaces – you will be surprised where it leads your group.
DO YOU HAVE A QUOTE OR EXPRESSION THAT YOU LIVE BY?
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”–Benjamin Franklin
WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO?
I am a professional copywriter and soon to be published children’s author as well.
Through my business Your Coastal Connection I write newsletters and communications strategies for some of Australia’s most respected not for profits and charities and provide PR and media services and strategic communications mentoring.
HOW CAN OTHERS HELP/GET INVOLVED?
- Model what we do and create your own regional writer’s club, or if you’re local come hang with us.
- Support Aussie writers by buying their books, ordering what they write into your local library or buying booking for young readers.
Encourage a writer by encouraging them to keep on going.