I have to say, writing groups are spectacular. At least mine are. If you’re a writer, joining a group can be the most rewarding thing you can do apart from achieving your life-long dream of being published/famous/fabulous.
I had a friend try and convince me to skip my writing group yesterday in favor of a different meetup, and I couldn’t do it. To spend time with writers, to connect on that vital level, to partake in the chaos that is our group–that is something spectacular and…neccessary. It’s not that it’s always encouraging (I’ve definitely had my ego busted in half when someone ripped apart my work, OW), and it’s not entirely the easy banter.
Writers, of whatever genre, seem to have something very fundamental in common. I’m not sure what that is. Possibly a respect for the complexities of life–maybe not. Whatever it is, it seems to derive from the driving force that makes us need to describe the world around us and put pictures in words. It is generally pretty difficult to offend us by content–almost any writer will tell you that as long as it’s written well, you can write about anything at all and be appreciated. Our group last night ranged from Christmas to truck drivers to oozing nipples. It’s all good. It’s all Art.
It’s a place you can come and share what you write. And writing comes from within. Some people out there can probably remain entirely ambivalent about their writing and pen pieces they care nothing about, but as a general rule, writing is regurgitation of self. We all have multiple personalities. Hell, even glorified schizophrenia. We converse with our characters, ask them questions. Yell at them. Bitch about what the hell made them do that anyway, damn it. The characters hijack our plot half the time, and there’s not a whit to be done about it. And with a group of others who have experienced the same thing, they can share in the mayhem.
I’m speaking primarily about fiction, but this happens in other genres as well. Poetry, non-fiction, hell, even the marvelous blurb can take you on a journey you didn’t expect. When you open up that floodgate, you never really know what’s going to come out. Writing, honest writing, will put you through the ringer and do the hard part itself. You might still have to beat yourself over the head with your keyboard on occasion, but it’ll still take off.
Writing groups give you the chance to grow. To see different ways of doing things and have those wonderful moments of creative synnergy. In my experience, they fling wide the floodgates. I rarely feel more inspired than when I leave the group. Maybe it’s the buzzing of intellectual prowess. Or possibly the smell. (Heh. You guys know I love you.)
Join the chaos. If there’s no chaos to join, make some, damn it.