On Writing Groups
A friend who recently moved to New York sent me and a couple of others an email with the subject line “Regarding the Creation of a Writing Group, Wherein We Meet and Drink and Talk about Things (that might be writing).” She has brought up the subject of forming a writing group on and off for a couple of months and I have nodded enthusiastically, saying “Sure, I’ll be in your writing group!”
Maybe I should have given this more thought.
The thing is, I love writing. I love to read it, I love to talk about it, I love to think about doing it. The act of doing it? Sure, it’s great, but getting me to sit down and do it is akin to asking me to scrub the floors of my apartment. In fact, there have definitely been a few times where I’ve chosen to clean rather than write. Okay, more than a few times.
If I love something so much, or at least profess to love it, then why don’t I do more of it? Honestly, the only thing I’ve been writing consistently for the past couple of years is this blog, emails, reports for work, and book reviews. And I suppose all of that stuff counts, technically speaking. But the type of writing I want to be doing, and feel guilty for not doing, is of a decidedly more literary variety. Where are all those comic essays I joke about writing? What happens to those first sentences that never quite blossom into the short stories originally envisioned? How will I ever be published if I don’t have anything to actually submit?
So, back to the writing group. The premise of a writing group, at least as I understand it, never having been a member of one that successfully met more than once, is to present what you’re working on a to a group of peers you trust so that they can offer you their honest opinions, preferably over alcohol to soften the blows. I’ve joked that as a member, I will be happy to offer my “expert editorial experience” but I need to stop hiding behind my editing skills and actually write something. It might be terrible, but at least this would be a good venue to come to terms with that (with friends, and alcohol, as previously mentioned).
Basically, I don’t write because I’m afraid I’m not good at it and don’t have any good ideas. And we’ve all heard the adage “writers write” or some variation of that. How can I consider myself a writer if I don’t write anything? So, more than being just a fun way to talk about writing with friends, I’m approaching this as an opportunity to get over myself and just write stuff. It’s the perfect motivation. You can’t not write when someone is counting on you. Right….?
Does anyone have good tips for writing motivation? How do you make time for writing in your busy routines? Have you ever joined a writing group?
*You can buy the above necklace here.