Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why a writers group?

This is my writers group, and I am proud to belong to it. I have, however, heard world-famous authors speak out against them in general. I believe they feel writers groups are too frequently social clubs wherein people gather to praise each other on their writing. Perhaps this is the case with some writers groups, but a good writers group can be an invaluable resource. Why? you may ask. Because they give you DRIVE.

Deadlines. Writing without deadlines is easy. Finishing without deadlines... well, let's just say it's harder. A good writers group will force you to bring "finished" writing to your meetings. Even if what you have "finished" is a very distant relative of what you will someday publish, your group will help give you the motivation to get there.

Reality check. We authors tend to either love or hate what we have written. A good writers group will tell you when your work doesn't live up to your rose-tinted impressions, but will also help you find the good in the writing you hate. I, for one, prefer to hear from a small group of colleagues when my writing is off mark, rather than from an agent or publisher.

Information. If you are working to improve your writing, you are undoubtedly gathering information on good writing technique. If you are a member of a writers group, you gain the benefit of your research, as well as that of the other members.

Vindication. No one but another writer can possibly understand the craziness that is the author's life. A non-writer will likely never appreciate the accomplishment of a single perfect page of prose, nor the agony of perfecting said page. Tell a non-writer your characters have run away with your story, and they start researching padded rooms; tell your writers group, and they not only understand, they also try to help you catch them.

Encouragement. Writers groups are not just about writing, they're also about writers. It is difficult to risk rejection day after day, but your writers group will see you through it. They will help you deal with the inevitable rejection, and they will celebrate with you when you succeed. They will know, in a way your friends and family may not, just how hard you worked to deserve the celebration.

So, do you belong to a writers group? If so, why? Otherwise, why not?

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