I have recently joined an international group of women writers. We meet on line once a week in a chat room  and share ideas, comment on each others work, make suggestions and offer prompts and ideas for other pieces of writing.

Something new for me is Fastwrite. It is like a game; we have to respond very quickly to a piece of work, usually by just repeating lines that ring out for us.  It is like a chime of bells, especially when several of us choose exactly the same words.   I find the group very supportive and open about their emotions and faults.  We have discovered that between us there are lots of similarities, despite huge differences in places of origin and mother tongue as well as our life experiences.

This week I wrote about my children  - the way the youngest worried us so much when, after a difficult birth, she seemed incapable of expressing positive emotions  - until , when aged almost two, a poem by Spike Milligan made her laugh out loud for the first time.  If was as if she had woken up. In the case of her older sister I wrote about how, after a fall at school, she was unconscious for almost 5 days and nights, most of which I sat next to her bed holding her hand. When she first came round she did not know me, but I knew her and that was all that mattered at the time until further healing took place.  

Others shared equally emotive situations in their own lives, and we were able to be both sympathetic and empathic.

So, if you are worried about sharing your ideas in English, joining, or even forming a group like this is a very positive way to go about it. Members have varied levels of ability in English, but that doesn’t matter.

Not all such groups are online of course. In my area there is a group run by the local authority, which uses a room at the local library where members meet face to face. Another group in the nearby town is run by the University of the Third Age (which is for over 60s and offers opportunities to study many different things for a very small fee), this group meets in a church on the other side of town.  You can even do creative writing as a university degree.

All around the world there are similar groups. Some are for beginners and those for whom English is not their mother tongue. Others may be for professional writers, but there are lots of groups that anyone can join or perhaps specifically for young people or women and so on.  If there isn’t one in your area why not form your own?  All you need is one other person who wants to write in English, and somewhere to meet, and you are off.

You could perhaps show photographs and talk or write about them. They could be your own or just something that interests you – based on a hobby, or just something that catches your eye.

You could turn a poem into a story  - why was Wordsworth wandering ‘lonely as a cloud’ or where is ‘Ning Nang Nong ‘, or a poem from your own country and culture.

You could pick some words at  random from your dictionary and then include these in a story.  What would you make I wonder using  ‘Assemble; orange; best man and freedom.’?  Another idea could be to use a proverb as a starting point  - ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ or ‘A stitch in time saves nine ‘ or one from your own land.

There are lots of ideas out there so why not have a go?