About That Writing Group…

A quick update.

I bit the proverbial bullet and went to the writing group I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. Though nasty weather and prior commitments made it a small gathering, I met some really nice people who are very supportive of one another.  It was great to sit and talk to other writers.

Because I’d never before had contact with other writers, I often felt like the Lone Ranger.  What a relief to meet with people who also struggle with ideas, rewrites, and busy schedules, but who love the craft too much to abandoned it as a hopeless dream.

I feel reenergized and can’t wait to get back to work on my current story.

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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?