By Alexandria Brooks
Middle Georgia State University
In 2009, shortly after taking a faculty position in the English department of what is now Middle Georgia State University, Dr. Shane Trayers founded the Macon Writers Group to create a community for writers living in the region.
“Before I moved here, I had a pretty supportive community of writers,” said Trayers, now an associate professor at MGA. “So, the group was founded out of a desire to find other writers to share the ups and downs of trying to get words on paper. Writing can be lonely, and it’s so great to be able to meet up with other people and get feedback to help with revisions.”
Still going strong a decade later, the Macon Writers Group meets on the last Saturday of every month except December at the Ampersand Guild in downtown Macon. The group recently reached two milestones: the publication of an anthology that includes the work of some members, and Trayers receiving the Community Engagement Award from MGA’s College of Arts and Sciences, an honor directly connected to her work with the Macon Writers Group.
Today, as it always has, the Macon Writers Group welcomes all writers and aspiring writers, regardless of experience level.
“We have members of various ages, professional experiences, and backgrounds, and writers who write in a variety of genres, including novels, short stories, plays, blogs, non-fiction, memoir, children and teen fiction, and science fiction,” Trayers said. “We give writers help, whether it is to revise a manuscript for self-publishing, just sharing something personal, or getting ready for publication.”
The group presents workshops, lectures, and social gatherings like an annual birthday party, “Shut Up and Write” events and writing marathons, as well as participating in local writers conferences. Once or twice a year the organization will host a professional writer workshop featuring special guests, such as Jack McDevitt, Sarah Hughes, Winsphere Jones, and Elizabeth Tammi.
This past January, the Macon Writers Group celebrated its 10th anniversary with a party and the publication of the anthology, Discover Why I’ve Led You Here. An anthology of collected poetry, prose and essays, Discover Why I’ve Led You Here showcases works from 13 writers from the region, including several Macon Writers Group members and Middle Georgia State alumni and students, including Mea Andrews and Kaitlyn Rowe.
The title itself comes from Vanessa Jimison’s “On Pierre Auguste Cot’s ‘Springtime,’” a poem she wrote for Dr. Kelly Whiddon’s creative writing course.
Group member Margaret Rodeheaver used the experience to learn how to self-publish alongside editing the anthology with Trayers. The duo used an editing board to choose which works would be featured to ensure that a wide variety of pieces from local writers was included in the publication.
“We hope that [readers will] realize that there is a lot of talent and diversity in the Macon community,” Trayers said. “The anthology contains everything from poetry to memoir to non-fiction, and I truly believe that there is something in the text that everyone would love to read.”
Although the publication process was a long one, Trayers and the Macon Writers Group family found it to be an extremely rewarding and promising experience.
“The group loves the anthology, and there has been talk about having another anthology in the future,” she said. “Hopefully, before another ten years has gone by.”
The Macon Writers Group will hold its next meeting at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 30, at the Ampersand Guild in downtown Macon. Discover Why I’ve Led You Here is now available on Amazon.
The writer of this article, Alexandria Brooks, is an MGA senior interning for the University’s Marketing & Communications office.