I went to the first meeting of a revived writing group last week and am happy they have decided to regroup and that I have been welcomed as a member. I really didn’t know what to expect, apart from knowing that everyone would read something they’d brought and that we would talk, probably about writing.
The discussion moved well beyond what I expected, and what satisfied me most about the meeting was the quality of discourse and critique. Each listener took the time to respond with constructive suggestions, and qualified any point that might represent a subjective criticism. Beyond that every response demonstrated incredible sensitivity to the effort put into the piece by the writer, and made a point of finding something positive to say about it.
The group came to a consensus about adding a quick writing prompt exercise to the top of the meeting for those who could come early. The prompt exercise keeps the work flowing, but also alleviates the pressure to bring a piece to discuss every week, because the prompt can then be offered as a discussion piece. Over the weekend one of the organizers sent an email to group members outlining the following week’s prompt, but also mentioned a handful of submission opportunities. I hadn’t even considered the networking possibilities a writing group might offer.
I was excited by the variety of writing voices represented, and was a little intimidated by how good everyone was and how serious they were about writing. I need to remember that we are all probably a little intimidated by each other, but that we need each other. The writing group is a support group.