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.