I am feeling nostalgic for a former writer’s group I facilitated for over ten years. Missing that camaraderie and inspiration.
Unfortunately, over the years the group became stagnant. A few writers marked progress, as defined by simply writing for some, publishing for others, and for a few, just showing up. But others talked about the same things after ten years that they did at the beginning. And some, I believe, were there simply for social interaction as they never talked about anything remotely connected to writing.
In the end, worn down by the struggle to not allow a select few to ruin it for others, and having spectacularly failed in getting anyone to share facilitating, I ended the group.
I meet with one writer now and we accomplish a lot. Accomplishments include coffee and chocolate, lots of laughing, lots of talking about writing, kicking around ideas, critiquing each other’s work, and all the things that allow us to leave inspired. Everything a group should be.
At our last caffeine and sugar enhanced get together, we reminisced about the former group. I said how much I missed feeling excited to work afterwards.
I feel the urge to start another small group in a location closer to home for the selfish reason of missing that support, interaction, inspiration, and challenge from multiple writers. Then the roadblocks arise.
I already have work meetings four days a month.
I can’t make the monthly Sisters in Crime meeting now because of the long drive and dogs being cooped up too many hours.
To avoid past issues I’ll have to have rules of conduct and be prepared to enforce them.
Do I want all that again, for those moments of writing joy, not only for me, but for others? There are no writer’s groups in the area where I am. If I want to attend one, I have to create one.
Then of course there’s this – another evening taking up with a meeting equates to another evening not writing.
So where else can that much-needed interaction with writers come from? Online?
Where do you get your social interaction, your support and encouragement for art, the push to improve, the prod to stretch? If you attend a group, why? If you interact online, why? What makes the interaction work for you?
How do you balance providing all that for others and at the same time, not forgetting to provide for your own artistic health?
I would love to know.