Years ago I discovered something. I needed feedback. All writers need feedback. No, I don't mean I needed help writing, though I did, I mean that stories are meant to be read. And we get so caught up in the telling of our tales, that sometimes we forget to keep track of readability. And I needed someone to read my work and discuss it with me.
So, my options were take a class or join a writers group.
I chose the second option for several reasons.
The first reason is that I was broke. If you are having a tough time making rent, spending money on a creative writing class is dumb and not an option.
But really the main reason I sought out a writers group, was I wanted regular feedback. I thought back to the creative writing classes I had taken in college and the assignments weren't always oriented to feedback. The first group I joined consisted of four local writers in Davis Square, Somerville. Well, three of us were from there, but one guy lived in Newton. We met every single week and we took turns sharing our work. So every four weeks I had a deadline, it was awesome! Deadlines have a bad reputation I think. I have always thrived with a deadline hanging over my shoulders. They always seemed to focus my mind to a razor sharp edge.
I grew as a writer tremendously during my time in that group, but sadly my novel was not completed in that group. The membership dwindled to three and some weeks we would have to skip because writers weren't ready to submit. Life had swallowed us up and the luxurious time spent on writing became too expensive.
It was a sad day for me when it was agreed we finally disband.
It was more than a few years before I found another group and the structure was completely different. I still get much out of the experience, but gone are the deadlines I loved so much. And sadly the regular feedback. But I still get a lot from my time with The Malden Writers Collaborative, it's just very different. But as writing is so isolating, I encourage any reclusive writers out there to get connected with other aspiring authors. Share ideas, offer feedback, and more importantly develop some community.