Monday, 2 March 2009

Writers’ Groups

Writing is such a solitary profession that it’s often difficult to know if you’re doing it right when you receive no feedback or advice. So it makes sense to try to find a local writing group where you can discuss your work and perhaps make a few like-minded friends.

Just don’t expect it to always work out as you’d hoped.

10 comments:

KAREN said...

That was a brilliant read. Dear oh dear. I'll be sticking with my online group for now!

acpaul said...

Wow. Just wow. That read like the script to a writer's nightmare.

behlerblog said...

Jane, that article was hysterical. I agree that it's a good idea for writers to get off Writers Island in order to get a taste of reality, but geez, one would like the other critiquers to be somewhat normal. Yikes.

BuffySquirrel said...

That is very sad for everyone concerned.

Jane Smith said...

Buffy, I know it's sad: but I'll admit to almost hyperventillating as I read it because I was laughing so hard. I am unkind.

Ms Baroque said...

Hilarious. And precisely because in any group, regardless of the "level" or credentials, you can find yourself in a room full of people who don't get what you're doing, or know how to critique, or who who don't know the difference between reading critically and reading for pleasure; people on ego trips, people who are less good technicians than the person they're giving technical advice to.

The key is a caveat emptor - you have to choose carefully, preferably a workshop run by a writer you think would be in tune with what you're doing. Neither too-hard nor too-soft criticism is any good, either.

A friend of mine was working for ages on a screenplay, which I think he finally abandoned as being too painful, about a writers' group. O the egos.

Having said that, and having been to several workshops over the years, I have had a life-changing experience in an excellent one, chosen because it was run by a wonderful writer AND teacher, with a great reputation, where I met lifelong friends, set myself up with a real peer group (& network) of talented people, and never looked back.

Anyway, this account is hilarious and terrible. I feel I can see these people...

Laurie Paulsen said...

ugh. and i imagine the apartment smelling of soup, for some reason. terrifying account, and awkward and yeah, hilarious. thank you for the eye-opening report from the front. i feel lucky to have a solid circle of online folks who offer me critiques that don't involve, well, any of this hair-straightening experience you've shared. i applaud your bravery in the face of the afflicted. *claps*

BuffySquirrel said...

Nah, Jane, you're not unkind. In a different mood, I'd have laughed my head off too :).

DanielB said...

The stuff with the tape just made me cringe! Painful but enjoyable reading - thanks, Jane.

I think a group run by a professional literary agent would have a good few takers - I've never heard of one here. Most agents don't have the time or inclination! Sounds as if this one is making money off the wannabes rather than out of selling her clients' work...

Jane Smith said...

"ugh. and i imagine the apartment smelling of soup, for some reason."

Now you've said it, so do I. Soup with cabbage in it. That, or school dinners.

I'm going to have to brush my teeth now, to get rid of that smell!