It was perhaps not two years back that this writer (self-proclaimed) came across a wonderful little collective called Write Club Hyderabad. The collective or club, at that moment, was being conducted on every weekend, at the cultural hub, Lamakaan. This writer then, in order to test waters, and actually gauge his talent attended one of these sessions, and immediately so, the exciting prospects of being a regular henceforth. As many regulars would say ‘Write Club’ does that to you. Hence my personal journey with Write Club started, and to this day, the collective has offered me all the creative armoury to take on the world. It was then only imperative that I celebrate the culture of writing via Write Club and our conversations with the curator of the club, Ms Sravanthi Talluri. The excerpts of which follow..
When we recall the name Write Club, the first thing most of us derive at is that this is more concerned with just writing. When we say writing, what kinds and types of writing would you refer to as the core idea behind Write Club? And how do you define Write Club in a sentence or two?
Write Club, Hyderabad is the one hangout place for all the writers of Hyderabad to sit together on a lazy Saturday afternoon and spend it in the best possible way – Writing! We welcome anyone who writes, regardless of genre, language or age. Writing encompasses everything under the umbrella – novels, short stories, poetry, screenplays, scripts, essays, journals, travelogues, songs and everything else.
Although there have been many collectives across the city which bring people together for exploring art forms, the Write Club Hyderabad, has been consistently growing from strength to strength, for the past two years or so. When you look back, what are the things that you think separates Write Club from other collectives? And how do you manage to keep it different?
When somebody first walks into Write Club, they are greeted with a warm bunch of like-minded strangers. The rules are simple. There is a method to the warmth, room for every sort of writer and of course, the consistency of the meetups keeps us inspired and on track.
Writing in itself is a reclusive art. Meaning to say, not many writers are willing to share their products and works amongst strangers. However, somehow Write Club Hyderabad, has been consistently encouraging writers, novice or otherwise, to share their works and putting a framework of collective growth. Comment.
When writers have absolute freedom, they create masterpieces. The inhibition of judgement only occurs when you’re expected to conform to a certain standard. And at Write Club, we offer complete freedom of thought and impose no restrictions. This way, the writer is truly uninhibited in their work. We also ensure the comfort and willingness of writers who join us – at each and every step.The group strongly believes in the policy of no-judgement and pure authenticity. And we, even as a critique group, maintain that Write Club Hyderabad is as non-judgmental as it can get and as welcoming as it can be. When the fear of judgement is no more and honest critique comes to play, the group empowers itself and the writer grows.
The group strongly believes in the policy of no-judgement and pure authenticity. And we, even as a critique group, maintain that Write Club Hyderabad is as non-judgmental as it can get and as welcoming as it can be. When the fear of judgement is no more and honest critique comes to play, the group empowers itself and the writer grows.
Most with agree with the statement that Pure Creative Writing (not website based like ours) is a dying art. In this context, as the curator of Write Club Hyderabad, how do you ensure that you keep the culture alive within your practices?
We believe that writing doesn’t have to be all by oneself. Writing an hour per week can make a writer feel empowered, rejuvenated and rewarded. Also, it can add to your habitual discipline of writing. It is all about loosening the thoughts in the creative process; it’s not about the outcome – it’s more about the ideas.
The on-spot exercises ensure spontaneity and genuine creativity on the part of the writer. When the writer shares the write-up after the exercise, the group can take notes of the nuances adopted by the writer. This can lead to the individual growth of their craft. Also, when the writer reads their work, often the ear will pick up some pattern or idea that they hadn’t noticed even as they wrote it. They can spend just a couple of minutes going through it for casual rewriting. And to do that in a group of people who are like-minded always feels more secure, efficient and better.
Also, within the working of this collective, how do you ensure that there is a perfect concoction of modern-day storytelling and classical writing culture?
Every writer is different. Every write-up is different. Like Snowflakes and Fingerprints.
And so, every meetup we do is starkly different from the one conducted before. The meetup pattern set ensures that the host, the theme, the exercise is always much different than the earlier ones. And this is one way we guarantee that both the classical and contemporary styles, genres, themes, elements and devices are covered. There is so much literature than what can be seen and so much more to cover as it unravels and that forms the base for Write Club to have its beautiful mix.
You need to be an Angel to Sing, But A Demon to Write. Comment. Continuing with the above discussion of writer’s being reclusive, how do you encourage them to feed their inner creative minds, in a way that they think over stories across the week, and be ready for the next holding?
Ha-ha. In writer terms, we call it the crack of creativity. Every writer has hidden worlds inside them that are unleashed only when they are posed with the world that’s in absolute contradiction to it. It takes a little nudge, a little crack and a little push to get their ideas to spill from the pens. And that is exactly what we do every week, every session. A little nudge to unravel their idea.
Once the idea is on paper, it’s the foolproof technique – a stimulator for more ideas and a breaker for blocks. Typically, we have writers who write more often than before once/after they attend Write Club. Guided Free Writing Sessions – as we call them – are the catalysts to their inner writers. This draws them back to write club, week after week.
In the group of worthy people collectives, Write Club Hyderabad has perhaps maintained the lowest demeanour when it comes to its online presence or offline events. Is it something that you have decided on as the codex of its being? Do you feel that the lack of exposure for Write Club works in its favour in some ways? Or do you feel that you need to up your ante as far as meaningful promotion goes?
Maintaining the low-profile for Write Club Hyderabad was not by choice. The online presence or offline promotions – it just has been on the list of things that Write Club hasn’t done so far – at least not so effectively. People often confuse popularity with recognition. We are recognised as an efficient collective by every writer we grow with; we just aren’t popular. Popularity was once cool; now it’s become a part of work for most of the world. Write Club does not concur with this principle.
Although we have been on the background for 2 years as a collective, we pride on having some of the best writers in our group. Writing as an art itself is quite reclusive. By means of that and in some ways, writers are averse to attracting too much attention. As writers, we let our words be in the foreground and let them speak for ourselves, while in the background we mull over the many ideas to change worlds.
That said, we are looking out for avenues that can help us reach out to as many writers as possible, within and beyond Hyderabad. More writers mean more creativity, more critique and more room for improvement. In that terms, we are looking forward to get a lead on the game and move towards meaningful promotion.
Now that we have a fair idea about the working of Write Club Hyderabad, let’s dive into its origination. Could you briefly walk us through the inception of this club? The founding members? The Core ideas and derivatives and such?
It all dates back to the day that I moved back to Hyderabad. I was a part of Write Club Bangalore, our alma mater, for two years. I explored and rummaged through all the meetup options and saw that there was no group collective for the writers of Hyderabad. And so for the motivation and critique that the writer in me demanded, I started Write Club Hyderabad.
When we started off, it was 11 focused writers penning their thoughts on a first experience, at the balcony of Lamakaan, under the bright April Sun. Now when I look back, we have reached out to more than 1500 writers online and offline. The core idea for Write Club, when it started and even today, is to have a critique group for and by writers to understand, learn and stay motivated towards writing. As one of our members, Aparna, rightly puts it – Write Club is like the gym for writers. The more you write, the better you get. Every writer that walks in goes back with one definite write-up and a bundle of ideas popping in their head to be written about.
In the two years, and 100 meetings of the club, when you look back, what are the three essentials that have evolved over the span of its existence? If you could go back and change something for Write Club right at the beginning of it, what would that be? Also, which other groups/collectives have you collaborated with along the way and how has it changed your way of working?
• The quality of writing, for every writer who comes to Write Club
• The diversity of writers
• The types of events hosted as part of Write Club
To answer the second part of the question, actually nothing. Every group collective goes and grows through a cycle of development and ours was just about perfect. Write Club’s graph for growth has been unhinged, consistent and synchronous. And if I had to do it any other way, I really wouldn’t.
Also when it comes to collaborations, It is always a pleasure and a learning experience to collaborate with groups that share similar interests. We have collaborated with InkscapeCo, Hyderabadass Comedy Club, Nivasini Publishers, and much more. We conducted workshops, specialised meetup events, open mics and have taken up many more initiatives in this direction.
Now for some fun,
Over the archives, Pick three stories which have impressed you the most and in one word describe why?
a. The Infidel Pen by Raj Alam – Mesmerising
b. Alienation by Aparna Malladi – Honest and Emotional
c. The Mermaid by Siddharth – Unpredicted
If you had to gift all the members of Write Club Hyd two books, which would they be?
a. Well, nothing beats classics. So – Alice in Wonderland
b. And of course, to get to the point – Borges on Writing
Shakespeare/Murakami/Roald Dahl/Jefferey Archer/Robert Ludlum/Stephen King – which writers would you give these monikers to, and why?
a. All of them!
If you could hold a fantasy session at Write Club Hyd, in which you could invite 5 writers to write, who would you invite? What if it’s the genre of Drama and Comedy?
a. Fantasy: J.R.R. Tolkein, George R.R Martin, J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman
b. Drama and Comedy: P. G. Wodehouse, Khalid Hosseini, Amitav Ghosh, Harper Lee and Fitzgerald
If Write Club Hyderabad was offered 1 Million USD for free will. What would you use the money for?
a. That’s quite hypothetical, but maybe a university sole and wholly dedicated for writers and writing.
What according to you are the three things which separate extraordinary writers from the normal ones?
With already a book under your name, An Anthology that is, under your collective’s name, where do you think will be the next step for Write Club Hyderabad. Where do you see the group in say five years of time?
• 5 more published books.
• More specific and directive initiatives
• Also,More published writers, from the group.
• More workshops, more members, more writing and thereby more accomplishments.
And to all those writers who feel shy to step out, what would your appeal to them be? What do they stand to gain by coming to it?
There are two words that are oftentimes heard in the log of a writer. “Writer’s block”. You sit down to write, you think of everything you can put your pen to paper for, yet nothing’s good enough. That’s the point when you need a little pressure, a little nudge, a little prompt to guide you in the direction of the brilliant yet hidden idea. You need to go after inspiration and not wait for it to come to you.
That’s where Write Club comes in; as your own personal trainer. You write on something surprising, something unexpected – maybe it is what inspires you, maybe it is not. You may not like what you wrote at Write Club; it may not even be close to the thought in your head. But at least the idea that you racked your brain for while you were under the writer’s block, now has a concrete structure and has been bugging you all through the time that you wrote THIS piece. The next moment that you get free and hold a pen in your hand, words will flow seamlessly. And you will see yourself writing the biggest masterpiece out of that idea itself.
Keep writing and you’ve got the momentum going!
So that was Write Club and its curator Sravanthi Talluri talking about exploring and celebrating the wonderful things that happen when creative writing happens. Let that pen loose, and let your mind free. If you are a writer who is looking to bring your best work forward and keep yourself inspired all along every time, don’t miss out on Write Club Session holding every week. Follow the official Facebook page and Meetup listings to know more.