Low Income / Community Writing
This section is devoted to supporting writing communities, collaborative writing projects, and emerging writers who cannot pay for editorial help. You can also find details of free workshops under Events.
I hope I can help.
I’m currently working on ways to raise funding which will enable me to offer all the options described in this website for free to emerging writers on limited means.
In the meantime, I’m keeping one client place available on a no-fee basis, along with two pay-what-you-can places. There’s usually a bit of a queue, but everyone does get their turn! So if you need help and can’t afford to pay, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, and I’ll do what I can.
I’m passionate about the power of collaborative writing as a form of activism, and as a way of creating lasting change in communities.
At the moment I’m working on building a network of like minds for supporting and promoting collaborative writing projects, particularly those with a strong social justice/community restoration agenda. And I'm keen to help with whatever you’re doing right now — so, wherever you are, if you have a project in development and could use some extra enthusiasm and input, please get in touch and introduce yourself!
Whatever I can offer in the way of techniques, resources, encouragement or contacts, I will.
Here are a few examples of projects which have inspired me:
Future Pathways is a project initiated and funded by the Scottish Government to support adults who were victims of historical abuse in the Scottish care system as children. As well as providing access to trauma support, counselling and legal assistance, the fund also helps survivors to achieve their life goals.
As part of this, I’m currently working with a small number of Future Pathways clients whose ambition is to tell their story and make it available for others to read. My role ranges from mentoring and editorial input to interviewing, recording and ghostwriting. I’ll also be helping each client to self-publish.
The Super Power Agency is a charity which partners with schools and youth workers to bring creative writing, storytelling and bookmaking workshops, interdisciplinary programmes and mentoring to Scotland’s most disadvantaged and under-resourced young people. The Agency not only champions literacy, creativity and authentic self-expression, it also professionally publishes young writers’ work.
As one of the founder volunteers, I had a brilliant time making stuff up with the writers of Mrs Mathers’ S4, S5 and S6 classes in the first year of weekly sessions at Leith Academy, hearing all about their lives and ideas, and watching in awe as their amazing stories took shape. As well as larking around at school, I helped develop E.L.E.P.H.A.N.T (the Extraordinary League of Editors, Proofreaders and Nifty Typists), which enabled volunteers with no prior editorial experience to collaborate online to copyedit the manuscripts of student work in a way which preserved each young writer’s voice – plot swerves, linguistic quirks and all. These books contain some of the most anarchic, truthful, crazily inspired storytelling I’ve ever seen – I wouldn’t have missed them for the world!
This small group is based in Galloway, in rural Southwest Scotland. They contacted me because they felt they were losing focus and momentum as a group, and starting to lack a coherent sense of identity and purpose. They offered me a mentoring mission: to help them revitalise and relaunch the group, and to continue developing as writers. The first thing we did was get together for a good long chat over a couple of days, which resulted in a plan involving:
Initially my contribution took the form of spending a couple of days with the group every two months – which I happily provided in return for travel expenses, accommodation with members of the group, forest walks, visits to harbourside pubs and the sheer pleasure of it! Once the project was established, the group successfully applied to DG Unlimited, the Dumfries and Galloway Regional Arts Fund , for funding to pay me a small fee.
I was so lucky to have concentrated sessions with the bubbly, enthusiastic whirlwind that is Sam Boyce, while a group of us were working on this project. Sam was personally a joy to be around, and then came the laser insight that took no prisoners. Sam is everything you want in a literary mentor: at once open and encouraging, and at the same time someone who lets you see where your vision is clouded, where your prose is stilted, where you can lift your work to a purer place. Closer to your original intention. She celebrates your talents, and chips away at the dead wood. Sam is what you want if you desire honesty and positivity in one little package.
If you get the chance to work with Sam, do it! Without her, this project would have languished in the doldrums. Her oversight gave it an engine and a purpose. We all tried to bring good work to our meetings without it ever being a chore, and when we applied her comments, it took our writing to the next level.
There were ups and downs throughout, but also joy because, although Sam is a consummate professional, working with her is fun. She engendered an environment where we could come to experimental creative decisions ourselves. One of these was to craft a chapbook with the stories we’d written. This was challenging but enormously satisfying from a creative point of view and pushed our skills set forward. On a personal level, this project and Sam’s input helped me identify my own artistic vision and to have confidence in it. These are the things I will take forward into my future writing.
You can buy a copy of the chapbook Weed From a Drawing Wave from Jane by emailing janeswan.fuller at outlook.com
Would you like to find out whether I can offer funded support to your writing community or project? Just get in touch for a chat. You can also read some tips for writers’ groups in my guest blog for Scottish Book Trust.