Recently, for an annual report, I put together some thoughts on my writers’ group. Here’s part of what I wrote:
“The process is one of finding out what works in our writing, what doesn’t, and why. As we usually can’t figure this out all by ourselves (because we are too close to the material) we need others’ help. That’s where the Writers’ Group proves invaluable. Participating in the Group makes the hard grind of writing somewhat easier, less lonely, and more satisfying.
Writers’ Group also greatly helps with what can often be a writer’s number one problem: procrastination. It’s common to feel a vague desire or intention to write a novel someday. Being part of Writers’ Group and having a meeting coming up soon may just be the spur we need to actually start work on it. Opening up a Word document and writing the first sentence can be the hardest part of writing that novel we’ve been thinking about for years!
Of course, unless we are literary prodigies (very rare, and none in Writers’ Group), there’s a lot more hard stuff still to come after we write that first sentence. This again is where Writers’ Group can help. Receiving critical feedback can take a bit of getting used to but the thing to remember is that it’s always a piece of writing that’s being critiqued – with the aim of making it better and therefore more publishable – never an individual.
Getting published is, of course, the primary aim of the Group. . . . Helping each other with submitting to editors and agents is also an important part of the Group’s raison d’être.”