Today I want to talk about one of the greatest joys of being a writer: talking to other writers in a writers’ group. A short post, and probably filled with oozy emotional stuff, but here it is.
I love my writers’ group. It would be nice if we could all meet in person, but we’re spread out from the East Coast to the Southwest. We use Facebook to communicate and post work for critique. I can’t say enough about what reading their pieces has done for me—or their reading of my pieces. The artist’s life, the writer’s life, is constant becoming. Getting better. Doing new things. Unrelenting learning and growing and becoming more than one was yesterday. With the group I’m in now, I am learning faster than I ever have before—becoming a better writer, faster.
I think the main reason it’s working for me is like-mindedness. We all write fantasy, with occasional forays into horror and sci-fi; there’s no explaining that this is not The World We Live In, but rather the assumption that the rules are going to be different and we’ve got to hang on for an explanation. We are all serious writers, wanting to turn this thing we do into a career, and invested in constant improvement.
If something isn’t working, I can trust them to tell me. If something worked really well, I can trust them for that, too. Feedback is like sugar to writers, and I’m getting enough that I feel like a hopped-up hummingbird. It’s fantastic.
The other wonderful thing about my writers’ group is the great pieces I’m getting to read, every single week. These are people I respect, and whose work I enjoy. Everybody has a different combination of strengths; everybody’s writing from a different point in his or her life and a different point of view. I learn so much just from reading everyone else’s stuff. I want this power, I want that power. It’s like a smorgasbord.
This is without a doubt the best thing I’ve done for my craft. Maybe it’s tough to find people near where you live, or you don’t know anyone. I urge you to reach out with social media and find other writers. Like Chuck Wendig says, the part of the Internet that isn’t cat pictures is made up of writers. We are here in droves, pushing words like we love to do, and chances are you can find people you respect, and who are doing work you can learn from. We are here and you can find us. Mostly, we don’t bite.
It might take some time to find—or to build, because if you’re not getting what you need, you’ve got to find a way—a place where you can say, “Look at this thing I have done. Does it work?” Where you can speak like a serious writer speaks. But it’s worth it.
I’m excited about what we’ve been doing lately. The fiction is getting ever more amazing, and now we’re doing a corporate blog. I’m looking forward to seeing what everybody has to bring to the table from a different standpoint, tips and nonfiction rather than their fiction (and you can find us here, if you want to take a look).
But seriously. Find one. Make one. Whatever. You need a writers’ group. I never knew what I was missing.