I am part of a writing group. This is an amazing group for many reasons, but one of them is that we’ve been meeting for something like 10 years. I can’t even remember when we started. The benefits of having a group like this are many – friendship, encouragement, appreciation, attention, accountability, and all of these things add up to a general feeling of looking at the calendar and, when the meeting of this group comes around, being able to react with, Great! This will be fun AND I’ll be writing something.
These are the people who know you and love you and your writing unconditionally. It’s the unconditional part that is important. Writing, the actual act of it, needs that unconditional atmosphere to flourish. It’s an acceptance that each writer should cultivate for him or her self and one that can be reinforced at each meeting of the group. It doesn’t need to be stated. It’s just there.
When we write together we are reminded of how hard it can be sometimes, how much each of us has to say, what we’re not saying yet, how effortless it can sometimes be, and we can celebrate the fact that we are part of a tribe of people, with similar urges, actively attempting to improve and succeed. We can be reminded that there is not any real failure, because we are all trying.
We get to hear how different each of our voices are and can be. We can witness and try out varying strategies. We become aware of the concerns and humanity we all share. We get to encourage each other to step off of what we know and jump into the air of the unknown and find ourselves possibly soaring.
We can commiserate, when necessary. We can affirm efforts and imaginative failure and also the full feeling of successfully communicating. And we can make jokes at each other’s expense, while all the time supporting them completely. That sounds pretty good. Maybe one group isn’t enough.
It’s not about exposing your frailties, it’s about sharing the process, its ups and downs, its deep personal connection, its ability to make us laugh and cry. In this group we have an audience, without which energy tends to lag.
So, if you are feeling a bit isolated in your efforts, in need of a nudge in the right direction, hungering for some reaction to your hard work, this is a way to enlarge the process of writing. It is a way to help you on your way to accomplishment. Hey, you’re writing, someone hears it in the big forest of scribbling, and it’s fun. What could be better?
*Words of note — benefits, encouragement, commiserate, scribbling, fun.