My Road to Writing-Small groups

     Like many girls I kept a diary from the age of twelve, it had the typical lock and key and it was pink-of course. After entries I’d lock it up, hide it, and pray that no one found it although it had twelve year old entries of boys, school days, and rants against the unfairness of my mom. Pretty tame stuff, especially since we’re talking about the 1970’s.
     Tame or not, the curiosity of one of my siblings, and she knows who she is, found the diary and exposed some comments, which caused a scene at dinner. It was a nothing entry, no huge secret, nothing juicy, but it was the disclosure of a private comment that was humiliating. I threw the diary away and didn’t write again until I was forced to in my 11th grade English class. Maybe it was the B+ or the positive comments from the teacher that made me want to write again, but whatever it was I’ve kept writing off and on since that time. Many years later, light years almost, I made writing a priority. A friend invited me to a writing group of six women, which I am eternally grateful for, and they accepted me and my writing.
     And this is where I’d like to share my first signpost on the road to writing: join a writing group with people who you feel comfortable with, who are committed to writing and who can critique your work and teach you through your and their mistakes. It doesn’t have to be a paid group, it can meet biweekly or monthly, just find one. Luckily my group leader, Amada, was a school teacher and she is a published children’s book writer-http://www.amadairmaperez.com (Check out her tips on becoming a writer).
     The group had a structure to it, we sent in up to 5 pages of whatever we were working on one week ahead of the group’s date, via email. We read our pages out loud and then everyone had a chance to critique the piece. She used an egg timer to set the two minute time limit,(afterwards she used her Iphone). Critiques were formatted: strengths and needs improvement or clarification.
     In the two years since I’ve been involved with the group, we have attended literary festivals, taken writing workshops, and had our own writing retreats, from New Zealand to Catalina Island and in our own cities. The groups feedback was necessary for growth, the workshops necessary for learning the craft, and the retreats invaluable in establishing trust and support.
     So now I have several journals (grown up version of diary), without locks, and they’re not hidden. Maybe I should though because now they contain some racy and juicy stuff- all fiction of course.
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Categories: Writing, Writing groups

2 replies

  1. Our writing group is lucky to have YOU in it! You’ve taught me and everybody so much about writing and publishing over the years. I, like the rest of WoWW I’m sure, am eternally grateful for your presence. Keep on writing and blogging your gifts.

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