If one writing group is good, would two groups be great? I discovered the power of a writing group a dozen years ago when I thought I was ready to write my memoir. The group was warm, welcoming and inspiring. But I wasn’t ready.
Last spring, following an e-mail signature-line link, I discovered a memoir class at a local library – exactly the push I needed. Several classes later I knew I had found the right place, a compassionate group, gentle critique, and a strong coach. Problem is, after eight weeks, the class was over. Eight chapter drafts sat untouched on the edge of my desk for the entire summer. Guilt began to sink in. I couldn’t risk letting another dozen years pass before I picked up the pieces – by then I might be too old. When September came and I found out the class had morphed into an official writer’s group, I grabbed my pink notebook and a couple of my favorite pens and headed to the library.
I am comfortable with this library group. It gives me a safe space to write and share that crappy first draft. I trust and accept the feedback from this group of eight women and one man. Our individual stories may be different but they all peek into the souls within us, all the way down to the soles of our feet.
But I still have that tough inner critic who tells me I am not author material. So I joined a second writing group, one made up of authors (by my definition, writers who have published their words). My thinking – wouldn’t this be the perfect place to take the draft from the memoir group, clean it up, and share with these “professionals?” Two chapters into it, confidence grows with positive encouragement.
Now I begin to reflect. This group is a mix of fiction and memoir writers. There may be some truth in fiction but as I reveal my story to this new audience, I wonder if I have the strength to share the whole truth. And, beyond that, do I really want the world to know? The answer comes. I have a story to tell. The grace to tell one’s experience, strength and hope, gives others the courage to tell their story.
8 thoughts on “Reflections – Writing Groups”
I am so tickled for you that you found a safe group to share your words. I haven’t found that group yet. I too have stories to tell, most are now on my blog in my family section, but there is more. How do I pull it all together? I do understand your feelings of growing too old, plus, I’m caregiving for my husband! I wish you lived near me!
Pulling it all together has been one of my big struggles. Journals, writings here and there across the computer, in old blogs and secret journals. It’s a hodgepodge of stuff but once I put it in chronological order I could see patterns. You have a lot to juggle. Keep writing – one page at a time. It will come together.
My group is an outgrowth of our NaNoWriMo region. November write-ins evolved into year-round weekly meetups, with extras for April, July, and November’s NaNo events.
We stick mostly with a 20 minutes chatting, 20 minutes writing pattern. We usually gather at a Denny’s with a side room that’s not in high demand on Sunday nights, but we also meet at one another’s homes, libraries, and other restaurants.
Four of us have gathered together to form an online critique group. Each of us has a different style and skillset, so it’s always beneficial.
More than the improvement in my writing – I’ve made actual friends.
May you enjoy both of your groups!
I’ve managed to complete nanowrimo 3 our of 4 times. Great incentive but not going to try this year as I need to spend my time on the memoir. Thanks for stopping by.
I’m so happy you’ve found congenial groups that meet your needs; and I wish you continued luck with them. It was a group that gave me the courage to try to reach a wider audience with my writing. I’ll be eternally grateful to them.
Thanks for keeping up with me. We shall see how it goes with 2 groups. Might be too much pressure 🙂
What terrific groups you have found — admire the courage and tenacity to show up for both. Imagine that each has their gifts to offer and that you’ll figure out the right way for yourself within, between them….
Thank you for stopping by.