Although I’ve been seriously writing for a number of years, it is only recently that I have joined a writers group in my local community. I now wish I had joined earlier. The group I belong to is small, but covers a number of genres and interests. One lady is using a series of diaries she acquired to write an historical work of non-fiction. Another writes a lot of poetry, much of it very funny. Others still are writing novels ranging from mysteries to literary fiction. Gathered around the table, once a week, is a plethora of knowledge and experience.
I bring something to the table myself. Besides a great deal of passion and enthusiasm, I have a background in Public Relations, am very involved with social media, and have a bit of knack for knowing what sells.
I’ve loved listening to others share their work. I don’t want to copy anyone, but I have been inspired by them. When I first shared my own work I was petrified. These lovely people do not pull punches in offering constructive criticism. It’s helping me to develop a thick skin, and to be able to decide for myself how much of what they have said I want to take on board.
Last week they helped me to realise that I was incorporating too much backstory and research into my opening chapters. I resolved to jump right in with the most dramatic scene in the novel. I also decided to switch to writing in the first person in order to help me maintain the correct viewpoint, and to give me greater ability to talk about my character’s thoughts and feelings.
Because there is an expectation that you will share something, it makes me much more disciplined about my writing and I have found thatI have got a lot more done. I’m also stretched by a monthly assignment that we set for one another. Where would you go if you were given the words “in the name…”?
At the end of the day, I only want to get better at writing, and these people are helping me to do so. I highly recommend finding a local writers group for yourself, and if there isn’t one, why not think about starting one? Check out Writers-Online for a list of groups. You’d be surprised how many other writers are lurking behind closed doors in your own neighbourhood that would love to connect with other scribblers.