Hamilton Mountain Writers’ Guild Keeps on Writing During the COVID-19 Crisis By Barry Gottlieb

In early 2017, Barry Gottlieb wrote an article for the Hamilton Mountain News expressing that he felt writing was a lost art. For this reason, he started the Hamilton Mountain Writers’ Guild (at that time, the Hamilton Mountain Writers’ Club) to help people improve their writing skills, provide a supportive environment for improvement, and provide them with possible avenues for publication. At the first meeting, he was surprised when 32 enthusiastic people from varied age groups and diverse backgrounds showed up. In September 2019, the Hamilton Mountain Writers’ Guild became a non-profit organization and the guild is still going strong today despite the challenges presented by COVID-19.

Members are encouraged to develop their creativity, whether that be to take up a new hobby or turn a current hobby into a career. Some members are published authors in print or eBook, while others are satisfied merely as writing enthusiasts. Guild workshops provide an opportunity to learn writing foundations, techniques, applications, and publishing opportunities within a supportive environment. Between workshops, participants, as part of one of several writing teams, can take advantage of peer-review to improve story structure, grammar, punctuation, and receive constructive feedback. After all, hasn’t it been said that writing is all about sharing ideas, thoughts, and inspirations?

Writing teams are meeting via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Discord during the pandemic to maintain their connection and motivation. Networking and sharing within the guild has led to many publishing their work in print and online publications. Guild members know it is a genuine thrill to see their story or poem in print via the Guild Anthology.

The Hamilton Mountain Writers’ Guild membership has collaborated, written, and published four books of short stories in different genres which can be found on Amazon.com. Profits from the sale of the books are donated to Neighbour2Neighbour Centre, a non-profit organization serving those experiencing economic hardship in the Hamilton Mountain community. At present, the members of the guild are collaborating on Book Five. This book will also be an anthology of short stories featuring fiction, non-fiction, and poetry in genres that run the gamut.

Barry now realizes that writing has not become a lost art and having the chance to write is a dream come true. At present, the guild has monthly Zoom meetings scheduled because of the COVID-19 virus. Once the virus is contained, the guild hopes to continue meeting twice monthly on Wednesday evenings. All writers and aspiring writers are welcome.

For more information, email Board of Directors Chair Neil Chopp at: nchopp15@gmail.com or Membership Chair Anita Joldersma at: anitajoldersma@gmail.com