2023 in review: Celebrating the words that emerge from a community of writers.

 In Newsletters, Richard Beynon's blog

What moved me most during the course of 2023 was not the publication of the book Step Back and Leap, which I co-authored with Patrick Mork; nor indeed the success of our annual writing retreat in Venice; but a very simple email from Connie Luyt, a much published and translated author, and a regular reader of my weekly Monday Writing Motivation blog.

“Thank you for your advice, your special stories about your life and the wisdom you impart. Please carry on – Mondays would not be the same without your inspiration.”

This year saw the posting of my 500th blog in the series. I could not, ten years ago, have imagined my ever reaching this milestone – or the fact that the blogs, intended to motivate writers, seem to have done the job, judging from the flood of emails that I’ve received from you over the course of the years. It’s a continual reminder that writing is, as Connie said elsewhere in her email, “a strange thing, it takes you out of yourself and into yourself, is exhilarating and exhausting, satisfying and frustrating in equal measures…”

But 2023 was also the year of our seventh annual writing retreat in Venice – and it also confirmed the fact that while writing is a solitary activity, it blossoms into community when the conditions are right. Venice seems to provide those conditions, and this year, as in every previous retreat, we saw how much fun and how many (good) words can emerge from the free-flowing collaboration that is the mark of a community of writers.

Our regular Stow-on-the-Wold writing workshop, although much smaller and less ambitious than Venice, was equally adventurous and productive – so much so that we’re more or less assured of being able to run these twice a year from 2024.

Another less publicised aspect of my year was my continuing work as a writing collaborator – in yesterday’s parlance, a ghost. My experience of working with individuals with a story they want to tell, but lacking the time or experience to do so, has been exhilarating and challenging, in the best sense of that word. The book I’m currently working on will be finished by February or March next year.

So I join with Jo-Anne and Trish in hoping that next year will be at least as fulfilling as 2023 was. With your help, as always, I’m sure it will be.

Happy writing

Richard

***

Writing retreats and weekends coming up in 2024

The Art of Memoir weekend and The Art or Writing retreat at the Karoo Art Hotel with Jo-Anne Richards and Joanne Hichens in Barrydale, South Africa. 26 to 28 July and or 28 July to 2 August 2024

Writing Weekend with Richard Beynon in Stow-on-the-Wold in the United Kingdom. 26 to 28 April 2024

Writing Retreat with Jo-Anne Richards, Richard Beynon and Fred de Vries in Venice Italy. 2 to 9 and/or 9 to 16 October 2024

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