Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My New Writers' Group

I almost forgot to write here today! I have good reason, though…

I am working on notes for the first meeting of a new writers’ group I’m putting together. We are meeting tomorrow night to discuss exactly how we want our group to work.So far there are four of us. I think we need at least twice that to make it a viable group, but since we haven’t put out any advertisements yet, I think the four of us make a good starting point.

Right now I’m mostly working out what I want from a writers’ group. I belonged to a fabulous one back home in the mid-90s. In some ways, that may be detrimental. I was at my most prolific then, and I think I did a lot of my best writing then, and I can already feel myself wanting to recreate the parts of that group that I liked so much. But this is a new group, in a new time and place, with new people. I have to let it grow into what it wants to be, what it’s meant to be, let it develop organically.

I suppose it wouldn’t be a bad thing to list the elements I especially liked in my old group. Some of them might be able to be incorporated into the new group. As long as I keep reminding myself that this *is* a new group and needs to be its own thing. There were also things I didn’t like in the old group, so now might be a good chance to make improvements.

So…things I really liked in the old group…

I liked that we read our works out loud at the meetings. The downside to this was that we generally didn’t get feedback on any rewrites; we always read new material. I’d like some combination of reading new works but also getting feedback as we revise and rewrite.

I liked that we were informal and loosely structured. The downside here is that a few people had a tendency to read for a much longer time than everyone else and so monopolized most of the meeting time. I’d like to set a time limit for reading and for feedback to make sure everyone gets a fair amount of time, but I don’t want it to be so strict that if someone has four extra pages one meeting we can’t give them time to read them.

I liked that some of us in the old group kept in touch and hung out together outside the group, so we had other chances to talk about our writing projects to people who actually knew something about them. I think we might manage something like this in the new group with a mailing list.

Actually, I think these are the main things on my mind, and now that I’ve laid them out this way, they don’t seem like too much to try to fit in. I think I’ll take this list with me tomorrow and see what the others think. I am so excited about this group—I can’t wait to have something to report here next week!

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