Why Write-on is an Example of a Society 3.0 Initiative #22 #cong20
Most writing-groups in the country closed down during the pandemic. Our group, Write-on, switched immediately to Zoom meetings and have thrived ever since. Our membership has increased and gone global; our Smartphone and Computer Skills have grown at a staggering rate; we were the only ‘live’ event in Galway City on Culture Night 18 Sept 2020 when the President of Ireland launched our 6th publication The Write-on Anthology 2021. Our oldest member is 84 years of age. She is zoom-ing, Whats-app-ing, Doodle.com-ing, PowerPoint-ing, iMovie-ing to beat the band. We published her book of Poetry NEW DAWN last year and we are publishing her collection of Short Stories in the Spring. We have changed the ways that Poetry and Stories can be presented at Writing groups, at Literary Festivals, at Webinars. We produced more than 60 videos of Poetry for the Siarsceal International Literary Festival Roscommon 2020 – a 5-hour marathon presentation.
The downside, as I see it, is that the powers that be in charge of the Arts and Arts funding, are not up-to-speed with these developments. The people with the purse strings still support the traditional arts that are no longer capable of functioning because of social distancing. This is a matter that needs to be highlighted and changed.
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- Writing groups can thrive during lockdown.
- People of all ages can upskill to virtual work methods and meetings.
- Groups like Write-on should be in the front line for Arts support and funding.
- Write-on has revolutionised the way that Literary Festivals and events can be presented..
About Frank Fahy
I’m a qualified Primary and Post-Primary teacher but spent most of my life as Publisher with The Educational Company of Ireland. I’m now retired and living in Barna Galway. I published a book of Poetry BUILDING NEW BRIDGES and I am competing my first crime novel ADDICTION TO MURDER as well as contributing stories, poems, songs and MOVIES to the Write-on publications..
Contacting Frank Fahy:
You can connect with Frank via email.
By Frank Fahy.
Write-on did not start out as a digitally oriented group – far from it. But, mainly due to Covid-19, we have now ‘gone-all-in’ digital. Write-on has embraced new technology.
Instead of saying let’s pull down the shutters due to the Pandemic, we have gone 180-degrees the other way.
We said: ‘Covid-19 is an opportunity. Let’s develop the technology around it.’
The old adage, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste became our mantra. We took a group of people, who by their own admissions wouldn’t be ‘techies’ and surprised every one of them with what they can do.
That’s worth talking about. Because one of the things that people discuss when they talk about society is that technology creates a digital divide. Previously, societal divides would be classified as involving income and demographics – marketing people typically talk about these things. In the modern era, there’s also the digital divide. Most people over the age of fifty are disenfranchised compared to your average twenty-year-old. The over-fifties were not born into this technology.
What Write-on has shown is that we oldies only require a little bit of encouragement and the desire to keep writing. I was able to take a group of mainly older people, many of them pensioners like myself, and transform them into digital natives in the space of a few weeks.
The other important part played by the Write-on initiative centres on the alleviation of boredom and depression which the Health Executives and the Government are so concerned about, especially during these winter months.
Write-on provides direct conversations and interactive discussions during our two-hour weekly meetings. But daily contact is also maintained through the use of
- our WhatsApp group messaging
- our informal Zoom conversations
- our website Write-on.ie which displays a magnificent array of presentations created by the members
- our Private Members Forum which is available for member’s only on Write-on.ie. Here, topics to do with literature and writing, as well as how Covid-19 affects our personal lives, are discussed in a safe and secure environment.
Creating social interactions through the medium of the Write-on Group has brought people closer together. We have formed genuine friendships, respecting people’s skills and limitations, and constantly challenging each other. We are not content to rest on the laurels of our previous body of work. Each week, we set challenges and difficult targets. Our 50-Word Mug of the Month Competition is hotly contested, and members demonstrate enormous mental and linguistic dexterity by creating a story or poem, not only within the very narrow confines of fifty words, but also including the two given keywords. One is constantly amazed at how different people can arrive at so many disparate outcomes using the same two key words.
Write-on members now create audio and video accompaniments for their stories and poems. This involves the use of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, iMovie (or equivalent), YouTube, Simple Note, Audio Memos, Doodle and the use of the multimedia capabilities of a Smartphone. The most recent Write-on challenge is to devise a Movie Script and to create a short Movie Trailer for one’s story.
This task alone shows how far Write-on has come from the methodology of pen and paper or word-processor since March 2020.