I love my writing group.
A writing group, I feel, is essential to the success of a newbie writer — especially one who wants to progress to author.
My group is an eclectic bunch of wannabe best-selling authors and hobby writers, spanning genres and years of service to the muse.
And recently I had reason to appreciate them a bucket-load more.
So why are they essential?
Air Your Stories
Some people write merely for themselves. Most write for an audience, even if only a small one.
Writings can take off from fresh ideas, building high on the wings of inspiration, before landing in the undiscovered land of storydom.
But, as they’re reworked over and over, in the solitude of your head- and work-spaces, they can become rank, foetid little things.
This metamorphosis can be a gradual one — so much so, ofttimes you, as the writer, won’t even notice.
Presenting a finished (or even partially finished) piece of writing to a writing group — the very act of reading it aloud to them — can reinvigorate it your mind.
Learn About Critiquing
One of the critical things you must learn as an author, if you hope for any level of success, is to receive critique on your work.
The story you have been working on for weeks and months and years is not perfect — no matter how much you love it.
Receiving constructive feedback on your work from people you trust is one of the surest ways to improve it.
Yes, the first few times, it can carve acres from your writer’s ego, but your writing and your stories will improve for it.
Writing is, largely, a solitary pursuit.
Most of your best (and worst) work is done alone, with naught but that intractable muse and your indomitable nagging doubt.
I’ve written before about imposter syndrome and its (artistically) crippling effect upon my work.
But there are as many ways to drown under the tide of perceived inadequacy in your work as there are ways to write.
Talking these out with your fellow artists, who are floundering under the same weight of personal expectation, can help exorcise those demons.
A good writing group can lift you out of the mire, boost your confidence, and help fan the flames of inspiration again.
So why is my writing group so damned special?
At this point in my author’s journey, I am trying to transition from short stories to novels. They are two very different beasts to tame.
And I was beginning to think the task was beyond my capabilities as a writer.
But a quick read through of my opening chapter and a discussion about story structure — along with a little ego massaging — gave me the confidence to dive back into my work in progress.
If this novel ever sees the light of day, it will be due, in no short part, to the support of my writing group. (Thanks, TWG!)
How has your writing group helped your art?
All images from pixabay