Writers Group, oh Writers Group, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
1) You encourage me to write. Okay, there is something inside me that is already driving me to write, but you finish the job. We meet on Thursday. I don’t have pages. I need to pull out the laptop because you expect nothing less than five pages every week.
2) You tell me that I rock. Let’s face it, the profession of writing is not exactly filled with people singing your praise. My first and worst critic is myself. I read what I write and I’m quite certain that it stinks. I get rejections from agents and editors, more than I want to keep track of. I’ve filled years with insecurity, second guessing, and doubt. But once a week I can sit in a chair, and listen to eight other people tell me how awesome I am.
3) You tell me that I suck. After telling me how good my manuscript is (and sometimes you may really have to search to find something positive to say), you show me the problems. This is painful, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I need to know my weaknesses. I need to see the holes. Not in vague terms, not in softened generalities, but the brutal, complete, and honest truth. I need to see the warts, every last one of them, so I can fix them and make my writing better.
4) Because you get it. You get it like nobody else can. The deep pain that comes with rejection. The indescribable joy that come from a partial request. The hope. The fears. Writers experience emotions only other writers can really understand. And sometimes when I’m crying, maybe in joy, maybe in sorrow, I need somebody who really understands. Somebody who has been there.
5) My writing always improves. Whether it’s from feedback from the rest of the group, or because I see strengths and weaknesses in the other pages I read, my writing always gets better. I learn tips and tricks. I see pitfalls and shortcuts that shouldn’t be made. Once a week I’m actively engaged in honing my craft, and step by step I improve.