Have you ever belonged to a writer’s group? Did it work? Why (or why not?) What would be your criteria for the perfect writer’s group?
I’ve never belonged to a writer’s group, although I have spent time talking informally with other friends who write and – in the long ago – took classes, which included some of the elements of a group (but in a larger scale).
So, I can’t attest as to whether or not it worked and why. But I can weigh in on my criteria for the perfect writer’s group (and for that matter, it would apply to an art group as well).
It would be relatively small. The larger the group, the harder to schedule or get reliable attendance. Having participants attend regularly helps with the bonding and trust, which becomes a factor when feeling comfortable sharing work and getting feedback.
It would allow for personal style diversity. By that, I mean it wouldn’t be discipline specific. Whether you wrote short stories, essays, investigative pieces or non-fiction, you would be welcome.
My concept would be one of sharing and one of positive feedback. I know if someone says, “that’s really lousy,” I want to shut down. If someone says, “I think I see the idea you’re going for – have you thought about...,” I’m going to be far more open and less angry, eager to return the following week with a rewrite to see how it fit.
And when it comes down to it, that would be a good art group, too. Granted, some of the logistics for that are a little trickier. If you have a collage artist, a large-canvas painter and a polymer person meeting to actually DO art, you’re going to have some facility issues. But for show and tell, support, feedback – well, that could be done with a pretty broad spectrum.
Thinking of that reminds me of a Creative Women party I had a year or so ago. It was about seven or eight women, each of whom brought something to show and their things were displayed on a table.
It was an eclectic group – a mixed-media artist/photographer, two who focused on jewelry, a writer, a photographer, a knitter/quilter who also dyed her yarns… there may well have been more!
And we just had fun. Granted, it was only one evening. But we talked art, writing, travel, creativity and all left so energized!
The energy. That’s really it, isn’t it? The energy of creating and sharing; the energy of reaching outside one’s comfort zone to seek and achieve feedback.
I have to add, there are so many blogs I visit and so many who come to The Gypsy that I feel much of that energy online. I envy the meetings of bloggers who happen to converge on the same site for a lunch or a gathering! If you can’t have the group at home, then the blog is definitely the next best place!