A phrase that sums up my writing efforts for this week is ‘after the lord mayor’s show.’ Last week – lots of words; this week no words. In fact, I took the week off and had a grand old-time visiting various places in the county.
I often find that this is the best sort of activity to liberate the old grey matter and consider things related to, but not directly involved with, the writing project at hand. And this week has not been an exception.
The topic I have been thinking around is writing groups. A cursory foray into Google suggests that I do not have such a thing in my area. Given the number of groups that come up in a search, this seems surprising but that is how it is.
So, what is it exactly that a writing group actually does? Looking at some of the groups websites and back articles on such things in magazines, they would appear to fall somewhere between a support group and a forum for critique. Writing is (or can be) a lonely occupation. It is one reason perhaps, that we blog, in order to make contact with like-minded people. I can see the attraction then, of face to face meetings to talk about writing with others. I can also see the attraction of getting some honest feedback from people who have some expertise in the area. But.
I have been part of many interest groups in the past, and while they seem fine on paper, things can get a whole lot messier once you involve, well, people! They come with baggage, they come with agendas, and they can come with egos the size of a planet. Of course, this can all make for some hilarity if you observe the interactions casually, but more often you are intimately caught up in things and become embroiled yourself. As for running groups, if you haven’t tried it yet, go outside and hit your head against the wall, then take a pee into the wind, and that will give you some idea of how it can be. In my experience there are usually a few people who do everything and a lot of people who sit back and expect to be entertained. Ah, the tales I could tell you about interest group committees that I have been part of (tries to control nervous facial tick).
But despite all that I have learned through bitter experience, I still find myself thinking of starting up such a group locally. Well. I guess I’m just a cup half full sort of person….
So, does anyone out there have any experiences to share about writing groups – do tell; I would love to hear.