Okay, so I did it. I finally attended my first ever writers’ group. It was held at my local Barnes and Noble, and we met in the cafe area. I brought along my daughter-in-law Kayla for moral support(I’m an introvert, so it’s difficult to go to things like this alone). I was this close to chickening out and saying I don’t feel like going but I wrote about attending in the last blog, to hold myself accountable. So off I went.
When we arrived, there weren’t too many people there yet. I looked around anxiously to see who might be involved with the group. I saw a couple of men sitting alone at tables with an open laptop so I asked one if this was where the writers’ group met and he said yes. I was relieved I had asked the person who was actually part of the group. We introduced ourselves and Kayla and I sat waiting for the others.
After some time passing, the rest of the group slowly filtered in and sat at a back table as others pulled a few smaller tables and chairs over to accommodate overflow. I had seen on the group’s online site that 16 people had signed up to be there that night and I was impressed that we could squeeze so many people in a corner, and impressed with the loyalty of group members to attend. I wasn’t the only new person, there was one other who had traveled a distance to get there.
As we sat, no one knew who we were, Kayla and I, until they asked if we were with the group and I informed them that, yes, we were new. They warmly welcomed us over and we sat, a bit cramped, but they were very friendly. At one point, after noticing the age range of the members, Kayla leaned over and whispered to me, “They’re all old. Why do you keep taking me to old people stuff?” She’s 18 and I’m sure anyone over 30 would be old to her. I’m ancient because I’m on the cusp on 53. Side story, when my son, Josh, and Kayla were dating, we were at a Chinese buffet restaurant and we had decided that her and I should hang out together. And the lovely Kayla agreed and said, “Yeah, I love hanging out with old people.” Ouch.
Anyway, I did not submit a chapter to the group’s site for critique because I wanted to see how everything worked first. They went around and introduced themselves and then they starting discussing each other’s work. I noticed that I did not share the same writing that they did. I am a more modern-day literary or romance writer and have a plethora of short fiction and not novels in the works, though I do have a couple of NaNoWriMo works. Most wrote historical, or fantasy pieces. I did find it interesting how they kindly critique each other’s work and I felt confident, after hearing their comments, that I could do this as well.
After two hours, they were finished, and mentioned that normally there was usually a group of three or four that met every two weeks or so. I have to say they were a very eclectic group. Wasn’t sure what I was expecting but what I saw I felt comfortable being around, me being an Aspie and an introvert. My husband asked me later if I was going back and I said yes but maybe only once a month or so. I am looking forward to the group critiquing some of my work. There are several published writers in the group and others who just have a life-time love of the written word.
So I survived my first writers’ group experience. Now I need to work on my grammar since I’ve been told I use too many commas. Thanks for reading. Until next time, my friends, happy writing. Oh, and reading because it was reported on the news this week that those who read live longer lives. Go books!