My First Local Writing Group Experience

writing-groupContinuing on with my theme of community, I attended my first local writing group this past Monday which is hosted by professional writer Nancy Christie. I would probably have no idea about the group still if my dad hadn’t showed me the announcement in the local paper (people still read the paper??). I had done countless searches online for local groups and was never able to find anything – I guess some people still spread the word the old-school way.

Anyways, I just got back from it and I am really glad that I went. I was kind of nervous about attending just because I was sharing one of my most fragile and secretive dreams with a bunch of strangers, but it is funny the sense of camaraderie you can feel with people you have just met when they share the same passions as you.

It was a small group of only six people this time but I didn’t mind that. I think if it would have been a lot bigger then I would feel a little bit more intimidated to share things.Β  With only a few people, it seems easier to keep it intimate so it’s not like I am sharing my writing to the world. Not just yet anyways. It also only meets once a month which works out great for my schedule. With trying to keep up this blog and my newly launched group writer blog (The Writer Diaries), and oh yeah, actually writing MY novel, I don’t have a whole lot of time to devote to another activity. But meeting once a month is nice to just touch base and maybe get some feedback on a part of my novel that I think needs work or the opening few chapters since those are what an agent will read first if they requested pages.

I don’t think that many people in the group really read my genre so I am not sure that I will be getting any other critique partners out of this but I do think it could be a great networking opportunity. Next month we are supposed to have a librarian talking about how to do research (which I suck at) and possibly a literary attorney to talk about contracts and laws about copyright and stuff (which I know nothing about) so that all sounds pretty legit. Also, just meeting other people who are putting themselves out there just like you are is encouraging. I was almost starting to believe that there was no one in a 100 mile radius that felt the way I do about writing.

All in all, it was a great experience and I am proud of myself for doing it. I have a very introvert personality and I don’t really feel comfortable around a person unless I have known them for a reasonable amount of time and we have had some “experiences” together. Things to talk about and say “remember when” and laugh. Otherwise I get awkward really fast. And I can tell when I am being awkward but there is really know way around it for me. You just have to stick around until we share something substantial and then I am like an open book.

Hopefully I can gain some “experiences” with this group and just continue to grow and learn as a writer!

Anyone out there attend writer groups regularly? Do you like them? Hate them? Met your new best friend there?

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17 thoughts on “My First Local Writing Group Experience

  1. I don’t attend any writing groups anymore, but I used to attend one in college. It met once every 3-4 weeks, and we would take turns reading each others’ work. I was one of two non-fantasy writers there, and I was also younger than everyone else by at least 7 years (which seemed like a lot when I was 18). After a year and a half of my attending and not saying a word, I stopped going.

    I’m really glad you enjoyed your meeting, though! It’s so cool that they’re bringing in people to talk to you! I really want to start looking for another writing group. I think I’m more emotionally prepared now, and I’m more secure in what I write, so I think I would have a better time interacting with other people. πŸ˜€

    • Wow good for you for going at 18! I would definitely have not been prepared at that age for it. I am 27 now and still was nervous going and meeting new people. I was also the youngest there (I am pretty sure) and no one really seems to write Young Adult – but I think it will still be advantageous for the guest speakers and just networking in general since the lady who runs it is a professional writer. The only reason I was able to even consider going though was that I feel I am in a confident place in my writing, almost have a completed first draft of my novel done, and really know that writing is a passion I want to one day pursue full time of fate allows it. πŸ™‚

      • I definitely know what you mean! When I was 18, I had only really written short stories, and writing was just sort of a hobby I used to have and was just starting to find again. Now I have several first drafts done, I know the type of novels I like to write (generally Young and New Adult) and writing is no longer something I do when I’m bored – it’s something I would love to make a career out of.

        I wish you the best of luck!

  2. I have a writing group I go to and absolutely love it. There’s a bunch of us – similar number to the group you want to, usually 5/6 there – and we all read a bit out and comment on each other’s work. It’s so inspiring, and really encouraging to see the strides they’ve made toward getting published. I’m glad you went, go you!! Sounds like they have really great speakers too so it’ll be well worth going!

  3. I’m glad you shared this experience. Once I get my first draft done, I plan to start going to a writer’s group in my area. Like you said, I think I’ll feel more confident once I reach that point and actually have something to share.

    • Most definitely. I would never have even considered going to one four month ago but now that I almost have a first draft completed and feel I have learned so much and grown in those four months, I feel a little bit better about sharing. Still nerve wracking though even when it is only 6 other people!

  4. I was in a writing group for awhile but it kind of petered out because we all had different schedules and we all lived in different places. It was nice for the camaraderie and critiques, but yeah, most of them didn’t read my genre. I did like meeting face-to-face, because there’s just something about the physicality of meeting other writers πŸ™‚

  5. Pingback: Celebrate the Small Things Hop | J.A. Ward Writes

  6. I’m so glad you found a group! Even if you all write in different genres, it’s still great to meet with other like-minded people. I have a group I meet with every month, and I always walk away jazzed up about writing. If I’m in a slump, I can count on the group to offer their support or advice to get back on track.

    Online writing groups are great as well, but there is something special about talking face to face. I hope you’ll get a lot out of this! [s]

  7. I attended once…but felt the same as you about the genre. I was in a room of non-fiction and adult fiction writers, and I really don’t think they “got” where I was coming from with YA! Either way, I was glad I went and got to hear from a lot of other writers in the area. Yay to you for putting your work out there!!!

    • Thanks Nikki! Yes, most of the group is adult non-fiction /fiction so I feel like when I read my excerpt next month, no one is really going to know what to say, especially since my stories run along the Fantasy/paranormal lines. I think I will just get a lot of blank faces! But I do think the guest speakers that will be attending will be worth it either way. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Thanks so much for checking out my blog today! I really appreciate it, and REALLY liked this post. I live in a small town, like only one stoplight and DQ is the only fast food kind of small town, so I was very fortunate to find a writing group. And I love it!

    Christi Corbett

  9. My writing group only meet up about six times a year. We stay in touch through blogging and twitter, but it is good to get together with other writers to talk about our work. We don’t bring stories along, more a chance to encourage each other to keep writing. Works for us. I hope you get out of the group what you need to keep your writing going. πŸ™‚

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