When I say the word “writer”, what image pops into your mind? Do you picture a man or woman, clad in ripped jeans and t-shirt, bare feet, fingers clattering on a keyboard, an ignored cold cup of coffee shoved to the side? Maybe that vision is extreme yet even in business, when a memo or presentation needs to be composed, the writer slips into a corner office and closes the door to be alone. Writing is intimidating, hard work done in isolation and yet, when you write with a group it becomes something entirely different. Writing becomes fun! What are the advantages of writing with a group?
- Motivation. Think of it like getting dressed in the morning. If you plan to putter around the house all day, it’s tempting to lay like broccoli on the couch all day in your jammies. However if you know you’ve got to be at the coffee shop by ten to meet a friend, you think about what shirt to wear with those new jeans you bought last week. You’re motivated to look your best. When you write alone, it’s easy to procrastinate. When you write with a group, you write.
- Discipline. Okay, ‘fess up now. Is there really anyone out there who is able to do “morning pages”? Every day? Unless you’re an established author, with an agent breathing down your neck, do you really have the fortitude to crank out a prescribed number of pages every day? If you’re like me, you find it hard to do. The dirty dishes piled in the sink refuse to disappear no matter how many times you blink and wiggle your nose. The dogs need to be walked, the cat box cleaned, and you can’t even see the hamper for all of the dirty laundry piled in and around it. But if you’re part of a writing group, at least once a week, you find the time to set everything else aside, meet with the group and write.
- Positive Reinforcement. Years ago, my next door neighbor used to go to garage sales every Saturday. She would pick through other people’s unwanted trash, hungry for that one find that she thought was pure gold. Writing is like that. Often you think your writing is the worst crap in the world, but then you share it. You allow the group to pick through your words and suddenly they find gold. It’s right there under your nose but sometimes it takes someone else to see it.
- Inspiration. It happens every time; first one person shares a piece of herself through her writing and before you know it the group begins to feed off of each other’s energy. A word or phrase, written by another, touches a place deep inside you. Seeds are planted. And you have no choice but to write it down. You need to write it out. You learn a little something new about yourself.
- Fun. There is at least one point each week, in every writing group, when all hell breaks loose and the laughter starts!
Can’t find a writing group to join? Then get courageous and start one yourself! You really only need one or two other people to make it happen…and oh, yes, some writing prompts to get you going. Beginning next Monday morning I will be posting two to three writing prompts to help you get underway. Don’t have a writing group but would love the feedback on your writing? Then feel free to use this site as a forum and post a piece or two of your writing on this site. I, as well as site readers, can jump in and give you some positive reinforcement!