In September 2014, my husband and I enjoyed a small piece of quiet between dinner and bedtime. This doesn’t happen often, but we’ve had the best talks during these stolen moments of time. During this one, I lamented, again, to my husband how much I hated my job. I worked as an assistant manager for a popular convenience store. I fantasized about poking my own eyes out so I wouldn’t have to go. I took this job out of necessity but really didn’t need it anymore. I was good and there were pretty big hints about letting me manage my own store. I enjoyed the idea of being in control, but really hated the work that went with it. So my husband asked me, “Well, what do you really want to do?” I told him I wanted to write a book more than anything. He encouraged me to do what I needed to do and so I quit the next month. I discovered this little thing called NaNoWriMo and I’ve never looked back.
That first NaNo showed me just how hard it was to actually write a book, but it also introduced me to a group of local people who met two times a month to learn about writing. The group had been meeting for awhile before I joined. I was scared the first time I went. I just about had a heart attack when the moderator asked me to read something that first day. I went back the next time and since then I’ve only missed once.
Joining Prolific Pens, has been one of the best things I’ve done in my writing career. I love going and move heaven and earth to make sure I get there. Some writing groups are more critic groups. Each participant writes, shares, and critiques. The group I belong to does that and more. That is what every writer needs. We spend as much time, if not more on learning the craft of writing and how to apply it to what we are writing.
Each of the main branch libraries here host some kind of writing group and there are several run through “Meet-Up”. If you do not live close to a group, find one the Internet. Internet groups are a little harder to break into because so much is left open for interpretation. What is meant as helpful genuine critique can be seen as mean and flipped when reading on the Internet. It is important to give more than you want to get, if you join an Internet group. Connections make writing groups more successful.
Writing in isolation is equivalent to playing chess by yourself. It is possible, but doesn’t seem to be much fun or challenging. Learning to give and receive criticism has helped me a lot. Overcoming fear of reading aloud has made me a bolder writer. Collaborating is exhilarating. For me, it is a type of group therapy.
My advice to any writer out there is FIND A TRIBE; BUILD A SUPPORT GROUP. These people will become your friends, your mentors, and sometimes will be the first people in line to buy your book.