Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Magic of A Writers Group

Writers are solitary, often introverted by nature. They spend a lot of time alone. Sometimes, too much time alone. There comes a point where you have to get out, meet with other writers. There comes a point when you want other people to hear your work, know what they think.

A writing group like the Women's Writing Circle read-around is not the same thing as a creative writing class or some other writing class where we are offered instruction in craft and technique.  A writing group is a place where you can walk in, float some trial balloons, put the work out there for others to hear.  There is something magical about that.

So it was at this morning's read-around at Wellington Square.  We listen to each other's work, respond honestly and sensitively.  Sometimes, the Circle is the only place where our work is heard.  Sometimes, no one at home cares that we write or what we write.

In the Circle we focus on the fact that the author has undertaken something extremely difficult, often soul-searching.  Maybe we want advice, maybe just a listening audience.  Does this work?  Does this have potential?  A little bit of empathy and affirmation goes a long way. 

When I started the Women's Writing Circle two years ago, I was looking for other writers who could offer up suggestions, ask questions, provide encouragement.

I had no idea that we would evolve into a group of people who truly care for each other, whose support and guidance would become crucial to my own work.  Women have come and gone over the last two years, but the ones who come back time and time again are those who keep the rest of us - sometimes on the verge of giving up and taking up, say, metalworking - the energy and will to go on.

Writing is not for the faint of heart.  Our group understands that.  No words are necessary because we all live the paranoia, the doubt.  And then we hear words of how the story resonated. "I want to hear more," or "You had me right from the beginning," or "I wish I could write something that beautiful." 

What better pep talk could there be?  What better air to breathe than  the air of  fellow writers?  To learn more about the read-around.

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