As you can see from the links on the right side of my blog, I’m a member of several writers groups. Each group is an amazing resource for me. My local chapter, Kentucky Romance Writers, puts me in touch with a tremendous group of fellow writers right here in the Bluegrass State (and a few beyond its borders!). RWA Online offers discussion forums that are open 24/7, allowing members to pop in and out, ask questions, take part in discussions, and absorb knowledge. YARWA (Young Adult Romance Writers of America) gives me the opportunity to be a part of a group that’s specific to my genre of writing – Young Adult fiction.
Over the past few months I’ve also been a part of a new writer’s group… one within my own community. We’re a small, but very diverse group of writers, and I’m finding that diversity to be extremely refreshing and energizing. Ray, who facilitates our group, is writing non-fiction. Glen is a songwriter. Luke is a witty and insightful blogger. Joe writes fiction with paranormal elements. (Yeah, he and I get along!) Right now I’m the lone female, which is cool. But we’ll be welcoming Sam (also a songwriter) and his wife Rachel (an English major) into the group this month. Our ages range from young twenty-somethings to fifty-somethings with grown children. I fall somewhere in the middle!
We meet twice a month, and a few days prior to our meetings we all email a sample of the writing we’ve been working on to the other members of the group. When we get together, at a lovely little café in our town, we talk about everyone’s work. We have a 3 positives to 1 “constructive” remark rule, and nobody every breaks it!
The best part about this group is that I already knew all these people. They’re a part of my life anyway. I never realized (and I’m betting most of them didn’t either) that there were so many in my regular “circle of people” who had the same love of writing as me. It’s cool to be able to share my “writer self” with people who were already a part of my regular life.
This week, the sample I submitted for our group discussion was really short (for me anyway). It wasn’t a chapter, or even a half of a chapter. It was just a scene. I told them the holidays and the chaos that came with them (particularly with three young boys) made me neglect the writing more than I would’ve liked. Ray told me not to sweat it. He said people who write are always “thinking about it”… it’s always “going on in our heads”… so even during those times when we don’t sit down at the computer as much as we’d like, it’s still “working”. He’s right.
It was a good reminder that the most important, and really the coolest part of writing, takes place “upstairs”, in the way I get to think and imagine and create and “be in my head”. After all, if it’s not in my head, I can’t put it on paper!