Writing Group Experience
(Entry below was written on January 22, 2006)
I attended a writing group on Friday night. It was hosted by a guy living in Hoboken at his apartment. It was a little cramped, but still OK, I got their early enough to get a seat. Late-comers had to sit on the floor.
For some strange reason, it’s really fun to write with a bunch of people. As one of the girls mentioned (at a bar afterwards where I went with three of the writers after the meeting)- it’s like there’s a certain energy created in the room, and it helps you keep your focus and keep writing.
The first hour of the meeting is always ‘silent writing time.’ Then they usually have a sign up sheet go around the group for those who want to volunteer to read and get comments and critiques. I never volunteer and I doubt I ever will if I keep going to the meetings. They are usually held in uptown Manhattan, so it might not always be easy for me to attend like these first two times have been.
There was a girl there reading from a memoir she’s writing who read a bit of it at the first meeting too. Her writing is excellent, and it helps that she has an amazing story to tell. She writes about living in Paris (and other parts of Europe I think) for a few years and being homeless and suicidal while living there.
She has this distinct, captivating voice in her writing, and everything she writes has so much personality and depth and humor. It’s amazing how talented she is. And if she ever gets published I would definitely pay to read her whole memoir.
Some people read poetry, or chapters from their novels-in-progress, or creative nonfiction vignettes. It’s really entertaining and inspiring to hear everyone’s tone and points of view. I think it’s important to expose yourself to new people and new ideas. It’s really interesting and enlightening.
And it helps of course to take the focus away from yourself. I’ll do anything to get out of my head lately, and hearing all these people’s affecting work just makes me want to be a better writer and a more sympathetic, open human being.