Get thee to a writing group!!!!

I remember when I first started writing….

It was my first book, and I had no idea if I could do it. All these ideas flew in and out my head at random times of the day. I saw my characters everywhere – there was Jenna, in the shape of a blonde girl ordering ham at the deli aisle in the grocery. There was Sam, a scruffy-faced guy on his way to the beach. There was Lola, a tiny woman with frizzy red hair gassing up her car at the local Wal-Mart.

I felt crazy.

I wanted nothing more than to be at my computer, writing, all the time. I heard voices in my head, the voices of my characters coming to life. I’d obsess over a scene, lose myself in a simple written conversation.

There was no way to tell if this was normal, or if I’d fallen into a rabbit hole from which I’d never return.

So I started poking about online. I told myself I was researching book publishing; really, I was trying to find a place to go with people like me. People who heard those same voices and obsessed over words in the same way.

I found my first writer‘s group when I signed up for an online class about the publishing industry. Eight people from around the country came together under the guidance of a fabulous teacher. Through the use of Skype, we were able to hear and see each other. We knew each others’ faces, gestures, frustrations. We laughed – a lot. We learned – a lot. And when the class was over, we kept in touch, cheerleading and commiserating.

I don’t know how I would have survived the early days of my publishing journey without that group. I didn’t have to explain the writerly things to them…they simply understood.

Since then, I’ve found a few other fantastic groups. The lovely Spellbound Scribes are one – we support each other on the hard days, high-five each other on the good ones. I’ve only met one of the girls in person, but several are quickly becoming good friends.

I have another group, too. A tight-knit group of email-philes. We’ve none of us met in person, but they are my friends, my favorites, my dears. They know without me even having to tell them the trials and tribulations of the publishing world. They know when I’m rejected; they know when I’m accepted. They know about me personally, too.

These little groups of people are incredibly important to me as a writer. Writing is a lonely career on which to embark. Everyone says that, but unless you’re doing it, you don’t actually know it. And other writers? They get it.  They get how much it hurts when you get rejected on that project into which you poured your heart. They get how much you want to get something right, so bad it hurts your brain. They get how many hours you spend thinking about a character, a plot point, a setting.

They just get it.

So…if you want to be a writer and you don’t have one already…get you to a writer’s group. If you can’t find one, let me know. Maybe you can borrow one of mine.

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9 thoughts on “Get thee to a writing group!!!!

  1. My first book would never have been finished without the help of my wonderful ‘writing buddy’. Throwing ideas back and forth really kept me going and she was never afraid of telling me where I needed to improve.
    I’ll never forget how invaluable her help was and maybe that’s what keeps me from actively finding a writer’s group. I fear that I will never get along with a group of people as well as I did with her. And unfortunately, most proper writer’s groups I stumble upon is based in the US and I’m european. Cursed be that time difference!

  2. Leah Rhyne

    Aw, yeah, that can be a problem. Silly time zone differences. That said, my email group is stretched from the east coast to the west coast, so we deal with some of that. Much of what goes on happens after my bed time! I catch up and throw in my two-cents in the morning. 😀

    1. Well, my ‘writing buddy’ lived in Alabama, so we also had to deal with the time difference 😀 But it was so worth it, even though I sometimes didn’t get to bed until 5 in the morning.
      Unfortunately, we were only two people, so if we weren’t both online, there would be nothing to catch up on in the morning.
      Gosh, I miss her!

  3. Other writers have been my saving grace, the keepers of my sanity (well, what’s left of it…muahaha). Now more than ever, I’ve been leaning on them to get the words down. It’s hard when you want SO badly to write, but feel paralyzed at the same time by the thought of undertaking such a monstrous project. (Especially when you have to chip and carve out every second of your writing time and then guard it with your life.) 😀

    1. For some reason, I couldn’t reply to the relevant comment, so I’ll just reply here 🙂

      And yes, she is awesome! Unfortunately(for me, that is), she just had another child so she doesn’t have that much time. I have tried to keep connected, but I feel bad about pushing. She just finished her first book, though, and she says she intends to write a sequel, so I can hope she returns to me some day! But for now, I have realized that I will have to look for either another writing buddy or a writer’s group. I just haven’t figured out where to start yet 🙂

  4. I love writing groups! They are so motivating. For awhile I was part of an online group which really got me focused until I was able to get disciplined. Now, I’m part of a local group (I’m one of the few “younger members” under 40 and the only one that writes YA) but they are a wealth of knowledge and support.

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