Budding writer? Join this Tuesday group to hone your skills – Daily Breeze
Is 2022 the year you promised yourself to write the book that keeps you up at night?
Maybe there’s a story idea that popped into your head during the pandemic. Or maybe you want to preserve your family history or share your secrets.
Whatever the reason, there’s a dedicated group of writers at the Peninsula Library who feel the same way.
The Millie Ames Writing Group, also known as the Tuesday Group, has met weekly at the Peninsula Center Library since the early 1970s. Millie Ames, a children’s author, lived in Palos Verdes Estates and started the review group to help local authors get their books printed. Back then, the group met in private homes, and when someone’s book was published, their success was celebrated with a cake.
Jean Shriver, a former librarian, has been a loyal participant in the workshop from the start. She entered her first book, “Mayflower Man”, in a contest sponsored by Dell Publishing Company. “Mayflower Man” won, Dell published his book, and everyone ate cake.
“I owe a lot to this workshop.” said Shriver. “It was a happy experience.”
And when Ames died in 1994, Shriver became the leader. Instead of meeting at home, the group moved to the Peninsula Center Library where they met in the main office as the library was being renovated.
Shriver is still writing. She published several more books after “Mayflower Man” and these days she’s well known for the thoughtful slice-of-life chronicles she writes for. Palos Verdes Peninsula News.
Another member, Jeff Guenther, has participated in the Tuesday Writers’ Workshop since late 2005. Guenther, a published author, said the weekly group is not just fun, but an absolute necessity for writers who have l intention to publish.
“The collective experience of a workshop accelerates your writing,” he said, “and takes it to a much higher level. The weekly format helps you finish a typical book in a year.
Dr. Gildon Beall had been a regular at the workshop for many years, but physical limitations made it difficult for him to join the Tuesday group. However, he maintained his passion for the profession by leading another group and writing excerpts from songs.
When I wrote my 2007 children’s book, “The Peacocks of Palos Verdes,” I discovered the importance of having fellow writers who critique my work. They encouraged me as I wrote this book and four others.
Millie Ames’ writing group met regularly until the pandemic changed everything.
Like most places, the Peninsula Library had to cancel all indoor activities. The Tuesday group held online meetings until it was safe to meet again in their creative space at the library.
Some of the members, like Beall, have not returned, so the band is actively looking for new members.
Once upon a time, I was a new member.
I know firsthand how daunting it can be to join a writing group and put yourself out there. What if my handwriting isn’t up to par? What if no one likes my story? What if my life wasn’t even half as interesting as I thought?
My fears were unfounded and I soon learned that the Tuesday group was a safe place to get feedback, both positive and negative.
The group was diverse – people came from all walks of life.
There were doctors, lawyers, teachers, doctors, librarians and engineers. And they all had one thing in common: writing was their passion.
And the great thing about having people in different professions was that if you wrote about a car accident victim needing medical attention, the doctor could tell you precisely what was needed. Likewise, if your main character had legal problems, one of the lawyers could help you.
The members shared different experiences, which helped us all. Some members had been writing for a long time, others, like me, were novices, but the group worked for everyone. Experienced writers were happy to share their wisdom.
I soon learned that I could improve my writing by listening to what other members were reading and what they suggested after I read.
I also learned to constructively critique the work of others. I learned about useful writing classes, upcoming writing conferences, how to find an agent, self-publishing, and marketing.
In no time the band became my community – I couldn’t wait for Tuesdays.
Like Larry Andrews, the group leader said the group’s workshop format is an opportunity for writers to read their first drafts and get feedback from other writers.
“It’s a great audience for seasoned writers and newbies alike,” Andrews said.
Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than carrying an untold story within you.”
Is 2022 your year to be a writer?
Join the Tuesday Writing Group for an open house Feb. 1 from 1-3 p.m. in the Peninsula Center Library Boardroom. The library is located at 701 Silver Spur Road in Rolling Hills Estates.
For questions or more information, email Andrews at novelLry@cox.net.