I went to a writers’ group for the first time in over a year on Sunday. I hadn’t realised how much I missed it.
It’s not about the feedback, though some I received, and it’s not about the feedback I gave. It’s just about being around authors and talking writing and books. It’s about being stimulated and sharing perspectives. Actually getting constructive criticism, or a brand new idea, or anything like that – that’s a bonus. A big bountiful bonus that maybe you can expect (it depends on the group and the nature of the meetings), but for me just being around creative minds is worth the car parking costs in itself.
I used to be in an active group in Oxfordshire; indeed, I chaired it for a few years though I found the responsibility gave me terrible anxiety and I gave it up with a great sigh of relief. Really it made me the writer I am today. I only left because I moved away and I’m still in touch with many of the members through the wonders of the internet.
Getting good feedback on your writing is essential and joining a writing group is the most straightforward way to get that. Most (all I’ve been to) are friendly and welcoming and are full of people who want to help you, free of ulterior motive save maybe the expectation that you might help in return.
I wrote about the benefits of joining a writing group in one of my very first blog-posts back in 2013. Since no-one read me then I feel no compunction in linking to it here.
You might also make some friends and lord knows that writers don’t have enough of those to go round. Just getting out of the house and meeting with like-minded people can be stimulation enough. It has been for me.
Now I feel energised and ready to return to the WIP from hell. I shall get it finished, I shall.