Continuing 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. 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!