How wonderful are writing groups?

If you’re shooting for the moon, it helps to have some pointers along the way.

I’ve been part of a local writers group now for the past two-plus years. After the first year, I thought maybe I should drop out and concentrate on my novel work, because nobody really wanted to work on longer pieces. But I knew my heart lay in the more protracted effort.

Our lovely tutor listened to my concerns, and then mentioned that another would-be novelist in another of her groups had had similar thoughts, but a year later found himself yearning for the sort of direct interaction he’d been missing with other writers. He’d asked, humbly, if he might rejoin the group. I thought about that a lot, and decided to stay.

Even though my subsequent foray, a submission of ten of my best pieces to the National Association of Writers and Groups here in the UK elicited only one ‘Highly Commended’ accolade for a small effort of travel writing (what, I assumed, we used to derisively think of as an ‘Honourable Mention’), I stayed with the group. Why?

Well, during the second year of working with my peers, I finished my first novel, and then followed publicly proffered advice (JerichoWriters.com) for self-publishing writers and created a prequel. Suddenly, while still producing for every set assignment in our group throughout that year, I had two novels ‘in print’ on Amazon/KDP and had begun working on a sequel, in addition to moving into a new genre for yet a fourth novel. It seems that once the tap is opened, the words flow.

Our writing group provides both stimulus and feedback, within a single week, from writers whose opinions we value, whose own work we’re increasingly familiar with. I haven’t been able to find an online sort of group that remotely fulfills this kind of interaction, or provides this kind of mutual support.

And that’s why I feel that a writing group is pretty damn wonderful.

By Larry Winger

Retired scientist, devoted diarist (AllendaleDiary.org), community-minded aspirant novelist, I've lived on a smallholding in the East Allen Valley for the past 30 years, delighting in watching our family grow up, in experiencing the development of our grandsons, and in taking care of our small flock of chickens and garden.

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