A few days ago, I blogged about finding a writer’s group. Today, I want to give you a glimpse into the wonderful group that I found. It was not the first or second group that I attended, more like the sixth or seventh not counting conferences and workshops, and while each group had its merits, this one was a fit.
Approximately seven of us meet on a weekly basis. Seven is a good number in the event that someone can’t make the meeting there are still enough people to make getting together worth it. With seven, we can read an entire chapter of our work. Sometimes, a chapter is five pages, other times, it’s twenty. We try to limit it to ten, but nothing is set in stone.
While we all dabble in different genres and story lengths, we are for the most part, novelists. Keeping track of all the characters, their actions, and multiple story lines is quite a feat, yet we are all able to do it because we are vested in these, as yet unpublished, books.
Each person brings a different talent to the table. Whereas one person is great for following the storyline, another is an expert on dialogue and yet another, has a talent for exciting verbs. The insight and intelligence of this group is staggering and I feel so lucky to have found them. Sometimes, I am amazed at what is read at that small, kitchen table.
This doesn’t mean that I get or give glowing reviews each time something is read. What I get and give is HONESTY. We say what does and doesn’t work without being vicious. We offer suggestions or reading recommendations. We offer tools for learning. We give compliments when they are earned. We can cite a specific line, word or phrase that supports our thoughts in either direction.
While all of us are still in the beginning stages of our writing careers, we have enjoyed successes and setbacks. We have had manuscript requests, both partial and full, from agents and publishers. We have had contest winners. Articles have been written and published with reprint rights. We have had requests to co-write with published authors. We’ve corresponded with published authors that we can now count as our friends.
When the setbacks come; and they do. We have each other to support and encourage each of us to take that next step and to continue writing.
I hope every writer can find a group like mine. Keep looking. There’s one out there for you, too.