Welcome to year seven of the Ottawa Writer’s Circle!
We started on September 1st, 2013 and here we are six years later, going stronger than ever. I often talk about how gobsmacked I am this group turned out the way it did. I wanted a handful of writers to share my work with and force myself to take my writing seriously. Now we’ll probably hit two thousand members during this year and we’ve just had our eight hundredth event. It’s mind blowing!
For nearly all of these past six years, we’ve kept things pretty simple and unchanged. Now with our group getting to be so large, the OWC organizers feel like it’s time to shake things up a little bit. As many of you know, I’m a data nerd. The organizers have taken a look at the data from the 2019 Annual Survey a lot of you lovely people filled out in January and based on your answers, we’ve decided to do some new things, starting with the mixers.
First, we’re going to switch up the dates. Right now, we have an afternoon mixer on the second Saturday of the month and an evening mixer on the 25th of every month. Starting in October (after our annual new members mixer!), we’re going to have only afternoon mixers: one on the second Saturday of every month and one on the fourth Sunday of every month. This is based on attendance patterns and feedback from attendees and hosts.
Next, at these afternoon mixers, we’re going to try a few new ideas. These include, but aren’t limited to, fun icebreakers and standing-room only mixers. (Note: for the standing mixers, limited seating will still be available for those who can’t or don’t wish to stand too long!) This is to address the most common feedback about mixers: No one mixes! Also expect to see a few more hosts around. Historically, we’ve just had one person managing the event and now that we have dozens of people attending regularly, that can get out of hand for a single person. So, more hosts and, hopefully, more talking about what everyone came to talk about—writing!
October and November are going to be trial runs for these changes. In 2020, the organizers will reflect, and we’ll decide if these changes are worth keeping. Please, give us feedback!
If you prefer the evening mixers, fear not! Replacing them will be a new event. These limited RSVP, semi-guided mixers will have a theme every month on an aspect of craft. For example, the importance of giving your characters agency, writing multiple points of view, or how to nail your voice. There might be an article to read or a YouTube video to watch beforehand and your lovely host (that’ll be me, Averill) will guide a craft discussion. Stand-by for when these will be scheduled!
And, finally, as most of you know, it costs money to run the OWC. These costs mostly come in the form of Meetup organizer fees and web hosting and come to about $500 per year, give or take some currency exchange. This doesn’t include any speaker fees, etc. For the first three or four years of the OWC, I paid all these fees myself. These last few years, the OWC has managed to break even and it’s been great! To continue this, you may see a few more fundraising efforts in the year to come. I assure you, I’m not looking to monetize the Ottawa Writer’s Circle. The goal of the fundraising efforts is to pay the associated fees to host the group online and run special events. That’s it. We collect donations at meetings and some of our more “advanced” events will have tickets. Critique circles and regular social mixers will always be free to attend. (If you’d like to donate electronically, I have a PayPal here. All will go to the OWC fund!)
Thanks to all of you for a wonderful six years! I’m looking forward to what this next year has in store. Since we are such a huge group now, we’re introducing an Ottawa Writer’s Circle Code of Conduct. You can find it here on the website. All OWC members must abide by the CoC, online and in real life. Please give it a read.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can either comment below or contact us using the form on our website.
Here’s to an amazing year seven!