It took less than five minutes for me to realize that I would not seek out the writers' group at my local library. First, their meeting schedule conflicts with mine. Second, the members of this particular group write for children and young adults. Even though children will be the "stars" of my book, I'm obviously writing for grown-ups. I sent an e-mail to my writer-aquaintance thanking her for the invitation but declining her offer.
Nevertheless, I thought that joining such a group would be an excellent idea. I followed my friend's suggestion and looked up Women Who Write:
A New Jersey-based, non-profit collective of women writers of all genres, from all walks of life. Published or unpublished, professional and amateur, our membership is comprised of writers in various stages of their careers. We welcome new writers as openly as experienced authors.
Fourtunately, a group comprised of mixed-genre writers is based just a few towns over. I contacted the group leader and she was delighted to hear from me. One of their members had recently moved away and they were looking to replace her. We talked a bit and we seemed to hit it off well. I had just one nagging question and that pertained to schedule. The group's on-line blurb stated they met every other Monday night. This would be problematic if it didn't fit my husband's alternating schedule. (He works a 12-hour night shift with different days on alternating weeks.)
Hooray! Our schedules matched! Their next meeting is October 12th, Ed's night off!
Here's how it works: Each of the five members brings four copies of their work (three pages, double-spaced) to share with the others. Each writer reads her three pages to the group and the group takes notes. When she is finished reading, the group offers comments and suggestions. "We believe in positive reinforcement and support," the leader said. "We're there to help each other, not tear each other down." Then all copies of your work are returned so you can ammend it if you wish.
It certainly sounds like it would be worth checking out. At the very least, it will give me somewhat of an incentive to write so much per week. I was feeling very good about the whole thing until Linda mentioned that they no longer met in the public library. "The library decided to close at 8pm and our meetings are from 7-9pm," she said. "So we're meeting at the Panera Bread Cafe now."
I gulped. Bread is my all-time diet nemesis. I can just imagine myself struggling to concentrate on my critiques of poetry and prose amidst the aroma of fresh-baked focaccia and ciabatta.
Note to self: Be sure to arrive at writing group with a full stomach and an empty wallet!
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