Not Sure I Did the Right Thing

OK, it’s nothing serious.  I found a local writing group and joined.  I’ve received several emails from them asking for an RSVP to their next meeting, but I haven’t replied.  I’m still not sure about getting together with a group of writers, let alone allowing anyone to critique my work; but like a lot of you, I find myself isolated much of the time.  Now, that’s usually not a problem for me.  I’m a loner by nature and generally don’t get along well with people.  I know it’s me and not them.  I just rub people the wrong way.  I don’t mean to.  But sometimes the isolation I prefer leaves me feeling disconnected in the sense that I’m not around anyone who understands the whole writing thing.

The next meeting is in two weeks, so I have plenty of time to think about going. I’m not sure what to expect. I’m not comfortable allowing other people to see and critique my work. I’ve heard bad things about writing groups, that there are people in them who think it’s their calling in life to tell everyone how much their work sucks. You know, the resident wet blanket. I don’t want my desire to write to be crushed by someone who has just had a bad day, doesn’t like my bumper sticker, or thinks my jeans are too tight. Is objectivity among writers (or any other group of humans) truly possible? I’m afraid of finding out through a soul-crushing experience.

My other major concern is that there seem to be so few people writing picture books. Most seem to be into novels or poetry. Writing picture books is incredibly hard. If you don’t agree, I invite you to give it a try. Trying to bounce ideas off another adult is tough because most adults have forgotten how to think like a child. A picture book story just doesn’t grab their attention.  It may come off as too simplistic or silly. Unfortunately, picture books seem to be the bastard stepchild of the writing world. I once complained to Writer’s Digest that they were neglecting a very difficult genre. They replied that they would be featuring more articles about writing picture books in the future. What they did was reprint a section from a book about writing picture books that I already had on my shelf. It’s also the one genre that agents and publishers seem most determined to talk writers out of pursuing.

My paranoid reservations aside, curiosity will probably compel me to attend the next meeting (if my husband can get the car home to me in time) and see how it goes. I hope all my fears are unfounded.

Have you ever belonged to a writing group? What was your experience?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ehbates
    Jun 08, 2014 @ 20:38:00

    Yeesh. That’s a difficult situation. I agree, picture books are hard, and it’s hard to find someone who appreciates how hard they are. As to writing groups, I’ve had great experiences with them, and I think that a good writing group is crucial to improving your work. That outsider’s view is so helpful in catching things that you yourself skip over. However, I’ve only formed writing groups from writing friends whose opinions I can trust–and whom I can rely on not to get offended when I don’t take all of their suggestions. I hope this writing group works out for you! But if the people aren’t supportive, don’t waste your time with them. There are enough ways to experience rejection in the writing world without getting it from what should be your support group.


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