Ah, the elusive writing group. Have I been to one yet? No. Have I given up searching? Yes. I have discussed vaguely starting some sort of creative group with my various creative friends, and the idea still floats around my head, but scheduling things like that as a bunch of adults with irregular work schedules is difficult. However, scheduling aside, I still think writing groups can be extremely beneficial, even though I’ve never been to one.
While I’ve never been to a writing group, I have bounced ideas off of my friends and co-workers, and the progress I’ve made in my stories by doing that is remarkable. Even if they have nothing to contribute on their own, thinking out loud in that way can open up possibilities you didn’t realize were there before. Hearing other people’s ideas is fascinating and can also spark your creativity. Even better if you can contribute to their creativity in turn.
It’s a real special way of creating collaboratively and gaining outside perspective, even if you’re the only one who’s actually creating that thing. And it’s even more special to have someone share their sorely under-developed idea with you in that weird, secretive, this-is-barely-a-draft phase and openly welcome your constructive feedback.
And that’s why I still love the idea of writing groups. They’re meant to be constructive, and supportive, and establish a group of people you can bounce ideas off of and have ideas bounced off of in turn. Even if you can’t meet with a regular writing group, having other people you can tell your ideas to and see how they respond, or tell when you’re stuck and, even without them having read your draft, they’ll give you a jump-start to keep moving again, is a tremendous help in the creative process.
It’s so easy to keep your projects to yourself because they’re “not ready,” but it’s so much easier to move forward when you have other people supporting your efforts and getting excited about your progress with you.
Have you ever been part of a writing group?