Thursday, September 10, 2009

Doing It Write

Doing It Write is the name of the weekly e-newsletter I’ve been sending out for ten years. I’m not trying to sell you on DIW - for one thing, it’s free so there’s no selling. I mention it because I wanted to tell you about the column I wrote for it last week. In it, I urged subscribers to form Writers Groups. And I’d like to urge you here to do that as well.

When I say “writers groups,” I’m not talking about critique groups. I mean a group of friends who are writers. A critique group is good if that's what you're in need of, but a fun writers group is good for the soul and for any occasion.

Recently I got together with a group of fellow writers for lunch. We meet irregularly, usually whenever one of us emails and wants to set up a date for a get-together. Then we keep tossing around dates until we find a time we can all or most agree on. We occasionally meet at a restaurant but most often convene at someone's house. A house is best since our lunches tend to stretch to around three hours long.

Considering we're all writers, we rarely talk about writing unless someone has a recent publication to share. We talk about everything else, from families, to vacations, to shows, to books we've read, to ... you name it.

Gather friends who are writers and friends of friends who are writers. There's a special feeling to meeting up with like-minded people. You're away from your computer, away from your manuscript, yet you're still in the writing world and you never know what will happen. You may get a lead on a magazine or agent. But most likely, you'll just have fun and relax and make long-lasting relationships. And those are important to writers who tend to be soloist playing notes on their computers.

It doesn't have to be often. We meet maybe four times a year. We happen to be all women, but your group can be a mix of sexes. We have different kinds of writers, from fiction to magazines to nonfiction to humor to travel. We're at different stages or levels of writing.

Gather a group of folks you like. It may take a lot of effort to find times when everyone can meet. Keep working at it. Find people whom you could support and who will support you - and keep them in your circle.
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25 comments:

  1. Helen, I've been trying to find an activity that will take me away from caregiving but not take up too much time (i.e., weekly, bi-weekly). This seems like the perfect idea. Also, though the main topic of conversation, as you say, may not be writing, I think it would spur me on to writing fiction again which I haven't done since my blog. Thank you for this post. I'll see what I can get going!

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  2. I so agree with you, Helen. I've been doing this every other month or so and find it is revitalizing even if the topic of writing is never discussed.

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  3. I'm part of a group of writers who do promotional events together. The nice thing is that we also do lunch or coffee together. I love hearing their takes on the industry and their writing processes.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  4. i was just thinking about needing to find some local writer friends. Not that I don't love my blogging buddies, but it is a little impractical to meet for lunch when that would involve a minimum of 15hrs flying time :)

    My local library has a writers group I have just found out. I thought I'd start there. At least I can meet some other like minded people that live locally.

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  5. Meeting and having lunch with other writers is wonderful and something I missed while spending years and years as an expat living overseas.

    The foreign communities were usually small and other writers were not to be found. I did have very interesting other friends, who gave me different and unique types of inspiration!

    Still, when I am in the US, meeting with other writers is always a treat and gives me inspiration and support not to be found elsewhere.

    Miss Footloose
    www.lifeintheexpatlane.blogspot.com
    Tales of the Globetrotting Life

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  6. I like that idea. Lord knows I need to get away from my computer more often! And never been crazy about critique groups.

    L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”
    www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com

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  7. Go for it! If you find a group or form a group, let me know how it goes. I love my group. They have become best friends and I could count on them for anything.

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  8. Thanks Helen. I'll have to figure out how to do this. I belonged to a writers group, but didn't care for the meetings. This is a lovely idea. Now where to find the writers...
    Karen

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  9. Great idea, Helen. Now I'm going to find where to sign up for your newsletter.

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  10. I probably need this. Most of my writer "friends" are online. And although I love them all, you can't exactly sit down and have tea. Putting together a local network would be good, I think.

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  11. Hope y'all can put together a group. This kind of group is good for your soul.

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  12. Compelling admonition. I've not done anything like that yet, but so many peeps swear by it perhaps I should give it a go. Thanks for the nudge.

    Marvin D Wilson

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  13. I love being surrounded by writers and though the conversations aren't always specifically about writing, they are always tinged with the writerly p-o-v. Because we writers see things that no one else sees and think in ways that most people would never consider. THAT's the part I love. Who else could you elbow when you see an old guy walking fast down the street wearing a ballet skirt and a back pack, then say "I gotta write that down!"

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  14. I once belonged to a wonderful writers group that meet once a week and not only provided friendships and critiques but encouragement for fledglings. Unfortunately, since I moved away, I've never found a group that compared. I'd love to start a new group but moving to a mountaintop will certainly limit participation. :)

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  15. Jean, perhaps you could invite a group of friends to your mountaintop once a year for a weekend. A getaway from the daily writing.

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  16. What a wonderful idea! I need to investigate around here to see who I can turn up. Actually seeing people face to face would be a nice change! I like doing what I do, but it can get rather lonely.

    Why don't any of YOU live closer?

    Elspeth

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  17. I love getting together with writer friends for lunches, etc. I used to belong to a group in Dallas that met once a month at a bar/diner and we had a blast. Like you said, we didn't often talk much about writing, but formed bonds that were very important. One of those members was Sandra Brown, and she still remembers me from those early years of her career. That's the kind of bond that can be formed.

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  18. I was part of Music City Romance Writers, the Nashville RWA chapter. Actually, I co-founded it. But I've dropped off for various reasons. I actually found I'm worse when I have a close group of writers. I get competitive and down on myself if they are doing better than I am. I think it was just years of all that and now I'm burned out.

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  19. I used to have a small group of writers and we got together a couple times and it was lovely. Unfortunatley they drifted apart and I do miss them. This writing business can be very lonely.

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  20. I met some lovely writers at a class several years ago, and a few of us hit it off quite well. We set up our own critique/social group and for a few years, we'd all meet once or twice a month.

    Time has passed, and we're now down to two. We still meet on a monthly basis, and it is wonderful. I'm sure if the group was bigger, we'd have a harder time setting up a monthly gathering.

    We do talk about writing, and offer things to critique, but mostly we visit and enjoy the companionship of someone who understands.

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  21. My group is all women, but mixed in ages and types and levels of writing we do. But writing is rarely the topic of conversation. We just have a great time when we get together. Since we're so different, though, the thread of writing is the commonality.

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  22. Somehow meeting with someone who's really a writer - published, got books in a bookstore, etc. - is such a boost. But meeting fellow aspiring writers helps too. Meeting anyone who shares the dream.

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  23. This is the kind of writers' group I want to be in. Instead, I end up at the public library, on a school night no less, listening to earworm bad poetry.

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  24. Annie, is there a writers organization in your area? Attend some meetings and begin to meet people. Find some you mesh with and then organize a get-together outside of the big group. A social gathering for talking, networking, having fun. Keep the size manageable and don't do things that cost a lot of money.

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  25. This sounds so great. I actually only have one friend who's a writer and it's great to meet. I would love a larger group.

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