Thursday, 1 July 2010

THE 500 CLUB - the most exclusive club in town!

I'm kidding.  I make it sound like the Savile, or White's or one of those old gentlemen's clubs in London but it was and is a very good idea. I can't take credit for it, well, not all of it anyway.

 It started in a lovely pub - as a lot of good things do - The Boar's Head at Ripley near Harrogate where I have spent many happy hours. I was having lunch with Leah Fleming and we were discussing the problems that writers have and especially the eternal one of getting down on paper the good ideas, the next chapter or even the first paragraph of the day, so very hard.  It's what Leah calls 'turning up at the page' and on most days I would much rather turn up at almost anything other than a blank page and so would many other writers I know.

Liz Gill in Rome last month, looking happy.

When the writing is going badly I have a very clean house, ironed clothes, even cooking. I have been known to make marmalade, dear God and my marmalade is on the same level as my risotto and is enough to frighten anyone who really likes food.

Leah Fleming, looking writerly and pensive.

So there we were, happy because we were talking about writing instead of doing it, miles away from home and trying to think what would inspire us to write daily and we decided that we would inspire one another and that at the end of each day we would email to say that we had written at least five hundred words.

We decided to invite another close friend, Trisha Ashley to join us. And she did. And it works very well because it's rare when somebody goes away but it means that there are mostly two people still working but of course as writers we try to work every day and we try to get in touch every day.  We hold one another up so nobody feels like Atlas, holding the blasted world up alone. No wonder the poor bloke got tired. I can't hold up my world without my friends.

 This is Trisha Ashley, looking very professional

I don't remember how many years the 500 Club has been going but in that time we have been out of work, successful, survived various family crises and one another's whims and moods. I'm so proud of us. Who was it that said something like 'writers are like fleas, they give very little to one another'?  It isn't true. My two good writing friends have held me together over these years, taught me not to give up or give in. 

We offer the idea freely to other writers - start your own 500 club or however many words you can write a day without miserying yourself senseless. Email your friends to tell them what you've done.
We turn up at the page as my mate says.  This is what we do. No matter what happens we write. These are our latest books.  Snow Hall comes out in August, published by Severn House and later by Magna Books in big print and audio.
Remembrance Day and Chocolate wishes are already out, published by Avon and we are hard at work producing the next books.


  1. Thanks,Liz.Simple ideas are the best and we are such different writers but can give each other the hard word when needed as well as encouragement.This is not a mutual admiration society, far from it...I have had the kick up my backside, stop moaning and just do it, at times.The honesty makes and takes trust, well worth copying if you can find the right friends

  2. It's a brilliant idea. Every writer should try it, and have friends like you. I'm proud to call you all my friends as you've helped me through some hard times too. Keep writing girls.

  3. Phillipa Ashley, Elizabeth Hanbury and I are the coffee crew. We don't email our word counts to each other but our regular email support and meetings for coffee, cake, lunch and a really good writerly natter are what keeps all three of us going.