SWAG Writers (The Staunton-Waynesboro-Augusta Group of Writers, a subgroup of the Blue Ridge Writers Club) about a year and a half ago. Originally I wanted to sponsor readings by visiting writers, and we've been doing that once each quarter or so. Then, borrowing an idea from James River Writers in Richmond, we began a monthly happy hour for writers. That was meant as just a chance to get together to talk about the writing business. And then last year we added an open mic component to our monthly WriterDay gatherings. They've been fun and have attracted quite a few readers. (We meet on the Second Wednesday of each month at The Darjeeling Café in Downtown Staunton, VA.)
At our December WriterDay, we got some press coverage. There was an article in the local newspaper and photographs of several of us reading. Partly because of that article, and partly because word is spreading, last nights WriterDay was the best yet. We kept adding tables to our group as more people arrived. Then readers filled some other tables, and we realized that there were quite a few people who had come just to listen. Meanwhile, our signup sheet for the open mic filled up--12 writers signing up for 5 minute slots, including several newcomers.
The readings were wonderful--a mix of fiction and poetry, some serious, some funny. It was a terrific night. Thanks to all who came to read and to those who just listened.