The Next Step for my NaNoWriMo

Last night was an interesting night. I had read in the newspaper the other day that the local writer’s network was having their monthly meeting, and that the topic was going to be Writing Groups. It sounded interesting and a possible opportunity for me to get in touch with other writers in my area, but I doubted I would be able to go. Still, I stored the information in what little memory I have left, shoving out some useless baseball statistics or something. Wait a minute, where are my keys?

Anyhow, I got home from work last night and while I was helping change my daughter’s diaper (which is an event unto itself now that she can kick her legs, spin around, and do all sorts of other funny things) I mentioned the writer’s meeting to my wife. At first she said something like “that’s nice” and we let it go. We went downstairs and I cooked dinner. Don’t be too impressed by my cooking. I simply heated up a couple ham steaks on the oven and a can of corn. This is the life of the parents of a toddler.

As we were eating my wife began saying things like, “you should go to that meeting”. By the time we were finished she was practically pushing me out the door. I felt guilty leaving her and my daughter because I spend the whole day away from them. Still, I was determined to see what this writing group was all about.

The meeting was in the local library. As I parked the car and walked towards the library, my stomach was doing stomachy things. I always get nervous being the new person in a group of people that already know each other. If you want things in life, sometimes you have to do things that make you nervous, right? I ignored the feeling in my stomach and continued into the library. The meeting was to start at 7:00 and I got there at 7:00. There were two empty seats and about fifty people. I was going to have to sit up front. Drat!

I scanned the faces of my fellow writers. I was the youngest there, but most everybody looked friendly. The meeting began with some quick introductions and then representatives from six or so writing groups (critique groups) talked about their groups, how their meetings work, how often they meet, and what their goals are. I wrote down information about the groups I was interested in, wondering what my next move would be. Nearly all the groups talked about helping each other become better writers, helping with query letters, giving praise and criticism, and so forth. Some of the people kept talking about forming new groups if the ones “on stage” were full, but I would much rather join a group that has been established rather than having to feel my way through creating a new group as well as fumbling through my writing.

They left a few minutes at the end of the meeting to network with people, which is really scary when you know no one.  I knew I would kick myself if I left that meeting without joining a group, and I didn’t want that.  First of all it would hurt.  Second of all, how do you really kick yourself?I put it in my mind that I would go up and talk with the person representing the group which seemed like the best fit for me, a Young Adult genre group (they actually do YA, as well as younger kids books).

My stomach was a wreck, but I did muster the courage to talk with the Young Adult representative.  I first asked if they had an openings and she said yes.  In fact, she was worried that since there weren’t any questions asked of her, there was no interest.  We had a good conversation.  I talked about my NaNoWriMo adventure and all of that.

The next meeting is this coming Monday.   The group meets once a month in different member’s houses.  I am just so excited about this.  Somehow, this makes me feel like a real writer.

So, this means that I will be getting back to my NaNoWriMo project, something that I know will make at least Diane happy.  I will keep you all posted on how the writing group goes.  Sorry for the long post 🙂


14 thoughts on “The Next Step for my NaNoWriMo

  1. Oh I know exactly how you felt…I hate joining groups of people,very scary but well done you for doing it! This is going to be very good for isn’t it? And good on your wife for encouraging you!

    I’ll get to read your NaNoWriMo storu yet…. 🙂

  2. Congrats! Writing groups can be really helpful, if there’s good people there. I miss my Creative Writing class for that – they gave good criticism.

    Good luck, and hope you meet lots of interesting and inspiring people!

  3. ‘couple ham steaks on the oven and a can of corn’ – another sentence like this and I’m coming over to you!

    And re: writing group! this is FABULOUS news, Paul!

    (Also: Congratulations on winning over your fears.)

  4. Go you! Doing that networking thing is excruciating, isn’t it?

    I’ll be very keen to read about your experiences. My writing group experience has been online only, so it will be interesting to see how live groups differ.

  5. SzélsőFa – are you coming over to cook or to correct my grammar 🙂 That sentence is bad, huh? Well, in my defense I rarely read over what I write here. I just wanted to get it all out there so you all could read it

  6. My writing group has been great for my work, so good for you! I’m always the youngest one at those things too..and I’m not that young anymore (30 something). Nice going.

  7. Apologize for a long post? But I like this post so very much.
    I found it really interesting.
    Apparently I like reading about how nervous other people can get, makes me feel better. (and if they can be funny at the same time, more’s the better)
    It is so fantastic that you joined a group, a real life, live, in the flesh, group of people, working toward, helping each other work toward, goals.

    I hope this is a great experience for you, and for your writing work.

    Do please, tell us more about it, as you go along.

  8. At the end of the month, the Pittsburgh ML for NaNoWriMo is having a meeting at one of my favorite cafes. I’m going, but I emailed her and asked her what she wanted to meet about. You know, me. I hate meeting new people. It makes my stomach churn. But I should go. Because it’ll be good for me.

  9. Well done! I feel the same way when entering unknown social situations. It’s great you can overcome your fear and get on with it.

    I like the idea of a writing group. I was looking for one in town here, but haven’t really found anything. Also, if I join a group, that might mean I’d have to write something, and no one needs that…

  10. You know most of the time when I spot a grammar error in a native speaker’s writing I have no courage to correct.
    Who am I to know all the grammar rules of native speakers?
    Grammar is a-changing…so what is taught in schools might not be valid in real life.
    Well of course there are strict rules that never change, but…is it one of those?

    I meant the FOOD!!! I was hungry while writing, I suppose.

  11. Julie – I’ll keep you updated on how things go. I’m really excited.

    Taffiny – thanks for the compliment. I really appreciate that and am glad you liked the post. I’ll keep you updated on how it goes.

    paperback writer – I hope you blog about that. Good luck!

    Rob – us programmers are a shy lot, I guess.

    SzélsőFa – 🙂 I see. Next time I’ll try to send some food your way via cyberspace, though you may be disappointed!

  12. I very much enjoyed reading this post. I’m glad for you, Paul. And you have a great wife! It is such a marvellous thing for her to encourage your writing! Only good things can come from your joining of this writer’s group – please, let us know how it evoluates…

  13. This is what happens when you speak in French with a French coworker just before you write a comment at this early hour of the morning…
    Obviously, I meant “evolves”… evolution is a difficult thing… 🙂

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