Thursday, August 30, 2012

Last word on writing groups - for now anyway

We have come to the end of this month of authors speaking of their experience of writing groups, some who meet physically on a weekly or monthly basis and others who meet via the internet. By far, the majority have expressed their involvement as a positive experience, encouraging other authors to find such a group for their ongoing writing development and the company of like-minded people.

My own experience of writing groups ranges from the formal to hardly there, from the high energy of mutual sharing to those that have descended into a familiarity that breeds gossip and contributes little to the act of writing. I have been the founder of writing groups and the new kid on the block in others – from a high level of responsibility to being almost invisible in a group – and I have found there is much to be gained from the diversity of these positions.  

I have met wonderful and talented writers who share with a humility that belies their skill, many of whom have become fast friends as well as fellow authors that I continue to learn from.  I learn equally from novice writers, those at the beginning of their writing journey who pick me up and carry me along with their enthusiasm, reminding me there is always something new to learn.

Only occasionally have I met the empty vessels of writing groups – those who browbeat others with their misguided assertions, who write very little, yet call themselves authors and promote skills they have yet to learn. These are the destroyers of any group, creating disharmony and discomfort that is not conducive to productive fellowship.  Other negative types are those who lay blame for their own inability to write in the manner they aspire to, who do not seem to grasp the need to learn – that writing is like any other business that requires training and experience. It takes a well-structured group to absorb the negativity of members such as these, to encourage and support them in their writing endeavours while discouraging disruption.

I have seen many people who have never written before come into a group and watched as they reached and surpassed their own expected potential, acknowledging that without the support and encouragement of the group they would probably still be sitting around thinking about becoming an author. Alternatively, I have watched older, experienced authors, generously share their knowledge while learning newer ticks and trends from those yet to be published – those who have an openness to learning and an understanding of the literary world as an ever-evolving business.  

So would I recommend joining a writing group? This is an absolute yes.

Read my article on choosing a writing group 

Thank you to all who contributed to this discussion during this month.

1st interview - Rose Frankcombe

2nd interview - Terry L Probert

3rd interview - Melissa Gijsbers

4th interview - Frank Ince

5th interview - Jo Michaels

6th interview - Les Stillman

7th interview - Lorraine Jones

8th interview - Julee Stillman

9th interview - Loretta McCarthy

10th interview - Sonia Doherty

Merlene Fawdry

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For some reason I'm yet to fathom I'm unable to reply to comments left by others so thank you for dropping by and taking the time to read and comment. Merlene