I’ve written about my writing group numerous times. Here’s a somewhat different take on writing groups, picking up on a guest post by Jennie Nash on Jame Friedman’s blog. I found Nash’s column very thoughtful. Personally, I couldn’t live without my group, but some of the points Nash makes are worth considering. Points that resonated: 1) if you really want the truth, you have to ask for it. You may have to dig for it. Maybe only one or two people will provide it. Treasure them. 2) Accept truthful comments! Too often people come to the group to argue with us about our comments. When I encounter this, I sometimes say my say, then shut down. But most of the time, the rest of the group backs up sincere “good notes.” Here’s where I would differ: Maybe struggling writers can’t fix your work, but they are READERS. They sure can tell you what they heard–what they thought you were saying, what confused them. One member of our group constantly disparages her own comments. But they are among the most useful, because she’s the reader out there who will be judging my work. Maybe she’s not a member of my ideal audience, but if she gets lost in the middle of page 2, how many others will get lost there as well? I’d like to cut that number down as far as I can.
Reading the post at Jane Friedman’s by guest writer Jennie Nash on
several points really hit home with me.
However, most important were the offered solutions.
Too many times we receive a lot of information but no actionable answers.
After Ms. Nash writes about the pitfalls of a writer’s group, she goes on to give ideas on how to help constructively.
So if your group is not filled with “experts” on editing, there is still a way to have a successful writer’s group.
The first fix Ms. Nash wrote, that stood out in this article for me was:
- Give each writer time to talk about the weaknesses they see in their work and the solutions they are contemplating. Let them try to sort those things out in a supportive space. Often, simply having to articulate your problem goes a long way towards solving…
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