June 6, 2012
It Takes a Village to be a Writer
WIG is mostly women writers, but we do have our token male, Harold. (He's on the right. We tell him he is lucky to sit with all of us gorgeous gals each week.) Other male writers now and then stop by to spend an hour with us writing. We don't discriminate. But, its mostly women, and we don't just write. We eat chocolate. There are no admission fees to join the group and no dues to belong. All you need is pen and paper and your imagination.
The group has been a valuable source of inspiration and support to me. They have been my cheer lead squad, applauding even my smallest writing victory. I hope I've done the same for them. We have some amazing writers in our group. But not every writer who comes to the group desires to be published. Some people just appreciate an hour carved out of their busy day to write. We have teachers and retired nurses and moms and people from all sorts of backgrounds. The one thing we have in common is a desire to write, to refuel our writing tank so our muses can thrive.
I've been in several formal writing critique groups. First, there was no chocolate. Second, they can be competitive and, at times, very critical. While you can grow a tough skin by being told your writing basically sucks, it really isn't all that fun. At WIG we laugh a lot.
It works like this....after we are given a prompt, we write for five to ten minutes, and then read what we have written. We don't critique or judge or make comments. We just listen. People write short essays or stories or poems. A prompt might include an old photo, or a clipping from a newspaper, or something as simple as write whatever comes to your mind after the sentence "I remember."
This is a photo from a writer's group taken a long time ago. Even back then writers needed to hang out with other writers. We don't get this dressed up, but times really haven't changed that much. We still need that human connection to create our art. No woman, or man, is an island.