Those of you who have followed my blog for a while or have read my profile or “Who Am I?”page might be surprised that I’ve never been involved in a Writer’s Group, Club, or Guild before. After all, my career and education has all been devoted to varied aspects of the writing industry from nuts-and-bolts document prep and authorization officer to ghost writing, songs/lyrics, journalism, poetry, and now finally at retirement age pursuing my greatest love–fiction author.
I joined a Writer’s Guild through “Meet Up” back in December of last year and attended one meeting. It was a great group of varied characters, including a young woman I already knew from a business networking function I had attended in the past–surprising since this Writer’s Guild meeting is quite some distance from my own neighborhood, about a 45-minute drive one-way. With one thing and another, mostly the cold, snowy winter and my own semi-restricted mobility restraints, I stayed in touch with little quips on Meet Up with a couple of the members, just reasons why I couldn’t attend month after month…I finally attended my second meeting on April 12th. It was so good to see familiar faces and new faces, finding out how everyone was doing on their personal writing projects and talking about issues like finding the time to write, how to get your spouse to be quiet or watch TV in another room, taxes, royalties, plot ideas, and all kinds of unimaginable topics that were so delightful and informative, including how to write a film-script.
I know I could find a group closer to home, but somehow this just seems like my group. Everyone is at a completely different stage of development in their writing craft, but even the most seasoned, the most professional writer can learn tons of new stuff from the beginner, who may have a totally different viewpoint and set of skills, like social media or computer mumbo-jumbo. The second meeting was even more fun than the first. I’m not the oldest and certainly not the wisest, but I do bring a different background than most of the others, even though there is another newspaper copy editor near to retirement who is beginning his first book. So commonality and variety all rolled into one meeting, where you can literally talk about anything or choose not talk at all. But I must say we’re a pretty lively group.
A sounding board is good, and a place to go where you are not judged on your deficiencies, self-inflicted/imagined or not, and can help mentor newer writers in a non-critical fashion–“Beware of the dreaded editor!”–it was really quite refreshing. It was nice to be remembered and welcomed back, but mainly to see forward progress in just about everyone present.
If you want an honest opinion, go to someone who’s not a family member, not a good friend, not your spouse or significant other. I couldn’t help but relate the experience of “my” Writer’s Guild meeting, for indeed this is my group and where I belong, to the support and encouragement we get from total strangers who become dear friends or pen-pals as we share our lives and our stories on our blogs.
So just as I will make time, get dressed, throw on a dab of makeup, and drive 45 minutes a couple times a month, to interact with some incredible writers in the making…so will I express my opinions, offer my support, and ask for honest feedback from this wonderful group of writers, poets, artists, photographers, and just greatly prolific people who have invited me to share their lives and their dreams!