For a long time now I have heard that it is important for writers to have a writers group. This is due to the fact that when you are writing a story you are too close to it and may not be able to pick out the parts that are flawed. Alternatively, you may just need a second opinion about whether what you are trying to convey is coming out right. Last week, I joined together with four other wonderful writers to make a group in order to critique each other’s work and so far it has been a wonderful experience. I want to share with you my experience working with other writers in this capacity and what I have learnt.
Apart from Kara, the rest of us never had any formal writer’s group experience. I have never had any experience because I do not know any writers at all (now I do!). I was really nervous because I have never let anyone read my works before and what I had to offer was my completely raw and unedited book which I am working on. Well, I only gave two chapters as these were consistent with where I want the book to go- the rest is just messed up, but I will fix that when I edit it. In my synopsis and notes about my book which I attached to the two chatpers I made sure to tell them that it was raw and that they should take into consideration. I mainly wanted help on my grammar and to see if my story was worthwhile.
I was made to feel really comfortable as the other girls expressed their nervousness at the situation as well. But, we were all comforted and supported each other. I was happy to work with them and felt safe because I got a good sense from talking to them online beforehand and noticed that we all had a great love of writing.
With the critiques, I wasn’t afraid to receive it and so far there has nothing harsh and everything is extremely constructive and has shown me places I need to work on, as well as inconsistencies they have picked up on. I am completely open to criticism and I feel in this situation you need to be. I am happy to say that my first group experience has been a pleasant one and I have looked forward to reviewing each comment as I know is for my benefit and that of my works. It has also given me so much confidence to share my works and be open to people reading them. Before this I was so scared to talk to people about it let alone share it with them to read!
There are other perks which I didn’t realise I would gain, for one I feel like I have made some great new friends and we talk to each other every day. I feel so supported by these girls and now that we have shared with each other a little piece of each other that seldom people have read I feel like we have developed a trust. It’s great! Also, I love reading other peoples works in the earlier stages. It’s like entering into someone’s mind and witnessing what they see in their minds eye, it is truly a privilege to witness. Further, when I’m reviewing their work and I find things that may need changing in terms of voice or too much summary, I tuck it into the back of my mind to look for when I edit my own story. Most of all, I love talking to other people who share the same passion as you and it motivates you to keep going. What I love about our group is that there is no rivalry and we are all writing in different genres and have different styles.
I look forward to seeing what the girls come up with next! Our group is very informal but it works for us and if you want to know how to create your own writers group or where you could possibly find one already established look out for my next post.