Well, I attended my first writing group meeting and I’m happy to say I survived. Overall, it was a good experience which I’m sure will help my writing.
The meetings for my writing group take place at different writing group member’s houses each month. The one this month was about a half hour drive from my house. I had never been there, so I gave myself a little extra time. I wound up being the first one to arrive, which doesn’t happen ofter for me. I just wanted to get there on time and not be the new guy and the one who delays the meeting.
First off, I met all the members of the group. They were all really nice. I am the only guy in the group, but that’s cool. I just hope I can bring something to the group that helps us all to get to our goal of being published.
Our hostess was nice and had snacks for us. There were cookies, cheeses, and even some hot tea. We all grabbed a plateful, sat around a table, and told a little about ourselves. I talked a bit about NaNoWriMo and they were all impressed someone could pull off 50,000 words in a month. I guess I earned a little street cred there.
One lady read us her poetry and it knocked my face off. Literally. We had to spend five or ten minutes trying to put my face back on. I’m all better now. Thanks for asking. And no, the no face look was not an improvement. The difficult part with the poetry, though, was that I really don’t know how to critique poetry. I told her what I liked, but I’m no poet. I could not really offer any changes.
Next, we read a chapter of fiction from another member of the group. I had read the chapter before the meeting, but not everyone did, so we took some time to read silently. I breathed a sigh of relief as I could not fathom reading my fiction aloud. The thought of that made me want to find a potted plant to go hide under. The chapter was pretty good, got my attention, and wanted me to read more. I tried to say this while also giving some suggestions.
At this point we were probably two hours into the meeting, though time seemed to be flying. There was time for one more critique, either the hostess’s story or mine. Since I had only sent out my chapter that day and was new, I thought it was only fair that we read her story and that’s what we did. I still hope to get feedback on my Chapter 1 via email, but if not I’ll just get it at the next meeting.
So, overall the meeting was great. The feedback given to the other writers was valuable and not harsh at all. More than that, though, these meetings will give me deadlines, something I really need to stay motivated. I know I have a month to get Chapter 2 in good enough shape to share with the group. This will keep me on track, and also keep me writing.
The biggest thing I need to improve with myself is my critique of others. I think that will come with experience, though.
Anyhow, I hope you all enjoyed this post. If you have any questions, please let me know!