Writers Group

25 Aug

How many writers groups have you tried? Have you experienced non-writers running a writers group? Have you had spouses enraged by the way you critiqued their partner’s submission? Had writers who do much, much more pontificating than writing? Have you encountered the massive ego who threatens to squish everybody else out of the room from the sheer size of his head?

Ah, the trials and tribulations. And yet, as exasperating as the whole thing may be, I still wholeheartedly suggest that you find or form a group, establish ground rules, and loosely limit new members (have some rules here as well). Treat each other with respect, maintain a professional atmosphere, establish a level of emotional intelligence…and then go for it.

A good writers group can provide such wonderful support and feedback. Believe me, family members and work friends rarely can say with understanding what other writers can. We know what NaNoWriMo is. If you say, “One thousand words,” we get it. If you say, “I got a rejection,” we understand the context.

Last year when I did NaNoWriMo, I was clicking along with a daily word count around 2,000. There was a spirit of friendly competition with the other writers in my group. Then life interfered and I flatlined for seven days. Zero word count. The end of the month was approaching and I was thousands of words behind.

It came to the last day of the month, a Sunday. I woke up in the morning over 7,000 words short of the 50,000-word goal. I told myself, “Well it’s impossible but I’m going to write as much as I can today and get as close as I can. As the day progressed, I was e-mailing my group, and a funny thing happened: every time I told them my word count, at least one of them would write back, “Keep going. You can do it.” Another thousand, and another thousand words went by. And another message of encouragement would come in.

At 10:40 pm that night, I crossed the 50,000-word mark, having written slightly over 7,200 words in one day. I didn’t even have as much belief in myself as others did. So who gets the credit? My fellow writers, of course.

Writing is a heavy load and most of it is done in solitude. Those other writers did not write one word for me…but they made the accomplishment happen.

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