This has been a long time coming post. I have spent the last several weeks in Germany (for both work and play) and with the holidays crashing over us, it has been constantly keeping me away from posting. So here I am wanting to talk about a very VERY useful tool while writing:
A few years ago when I still lived in Bloomington, IN I was part of a writing group with a few other writer friends. We would get together once a week to discuss the sample we chose for that time. It was great! I really missed that. It took me time before I finally got around to finding a group (or two) here in Chicago. I will say that it has reminded me of the benefit of having more than just one pair of eyes looking at my work.
I really enjoyed working with a group of people to look over some of my work. When looking for a group, it’s important to find people who are kind and supportive. Fortunately, most people looking for such groups are such people. The people I have met ask the necessary questions about my work, they are supportive of my ideas but still give great suggestions that are worth considering. When writing, it’s always a great idea to have someone outside of your own head to look at what you have done. This will help you see outside of the box. This does not necessarily mean that you have to sacrifice your own stories or overall idea because someone may not see or agree with your overal vision. But the right group of people can really help. They may see something in your story that you may not have noticed before. They may ask questions about your world that will make you delve deeper and discover more than your anticipated.
And being part of such a group can enable you to be that sort of help and support to fellow writers. You too can ask questions and be as supportive as they are to you.
Whne you find the right grou, the process will be symbiotic: you help them and they help you. I think being around sch creative is better than any creative writing class I have taken. These people don’t necessarily have to be writers of your own genre. In fact, it may be better that they write different. They may not be restricted to the confines of your genre. Again, this means thinking outside the box.
That being said – if being in a creative writing class does help you then great! Keep going. But I still supplement it with a writing group.
What about the rest of you? Have you found writing groups to also be helpful? Let me know your thoughts.