Enthusiastic volunteer, John Munro, prepares to share his passion for writing with others as he launches Glasgow's newest writing group! Find out how you can join him as part of the Get Creative Weekend and Voluntary Arts Festival this spring.

We first met John at a Get Creative networking meeting at Pacific Quay, Glasgow where he voiced his interest in writing and his ambition to create a space for writers to meet in his local area. A follow-up phone call with Voluntary Arts Scotland, to share ideas, links and resources equipped John with the confidence to turn his vision into a reality.

Fast forward 3 months, and (drum roll) the Gorbals Writing Group is born! We talk to John about his journey so far . . .

Why are you passionate about writing?

I've been passionate about books since I was a boy, my parents were in the military so I grew up living abroad and reading books and listening to music and the radio was the norm. I hardly saw any television and I'm old enough to know a world without mobile phones and social media. At 15 I joined the army and reading was a way of life when on active duty.

What motivated you to start the Gorbals Writing Group?

There wasn't one and I just thought there should be something and why not give it a go? I'm not perfect or published but I'm striving to move personally from "prevarication to publication" so it's given me a reignited desire to write, as I know that "if it's meant to be, it needs to start with me". 

I believe that there's a story in all of us, we just need to find the time to write it down before it's too late. - John Munro, founder of The Gorbals Writing group.

What are your hopes for the future of this group?

To encourage people to write for fun and enjoyment, if they can stick at it and can develop their own style and be published that would be great. Linking up with the photography group (another new group being established at Gorbals Library) will allow members of the writing group to see the world in a different way and encourage them to write about things that matter including social inclusion and justice, the environment, their own community issues, the potential impacts of Brexit and independence etc. The hope is that members of the group might try their hand at writing blogs or articles for newspapers.

What are your ambitions for the Gorbals Writing Group?

Hopefully people will see this as an opportunity to be involved in the creation of something worthwhile and over time, new people will join, allowing for peer-to-peer sharing and mentoring. 

Have you got any tips about how to move from thinking about starting a group, to actually doing it?

Ask for help and be grateful when it's offered or given. Leave your ego at the door. Accept that because you're the oldest in the room, you're not necessarily the smartest.

What has helped turn your ideas into a reality?

Meeting people who have an enthusiasm, desire and  hunger to encourage others to be the best they can be has made me question my commitment to wanting to be a writer. I've written loads and rewritten even more, I feel that I need to do this for myself as well as others.

Who can join the Gorbals Writing Group and how?

Anyone can join and it's free. Meetings are currently planned for the 2nd Saturday of each month from 10.30-11.30am in the Gorbals Library (180 Crown Street, Glasgow, G5 9XD). The group contact email is via gorbals.wg@gmail.com.

Upcoming events from Gorbals Writing group:

  • Join the Gorbals Writing Group and Gorbals Photography Group @ Gorbals Library on Friday 7 April and Saturday 8 April, 10.30-11.30am to find out more about how you can get involved and what the group/s have planned. This is part of the Get Creative Weekend, see the full listing here.
  • You can also get creative with the Gorbals Photography group on Saturday 6 May and the Gorbals Writing Group on Saturday 13 May, 10.30-11.30am, as part of the Voluntary Arts Festival, info will be added to the Voluntary Arts Festival Map soon.

Thinking about starting your own creative group? We have some useful resources (that are free to download) in our 'Getting started' section to help you on your way, and are happy to help point you in the right direction if you get stuck. Contact Cassandra at cass@vascotland.org or 0131 561 733 for more information.