I can't say enough good things about writing groups. I met with one of my groups, a sort of hit or miss conglomeration of writers who have known each other for years, on Saturday for "Write Night."
Write Night with this group features dinner, drinks, readings, critiques, and sometimes caps with some time in a hot tub. Lots of social stuff, mixed with writing.
My favorite thing about writing groups in general (and this one specifically) is that I get instant HONEST feedback on my work by other writers, who are all in varying stages of their careers, and all brilliant in their own ways. I find this immensely helpful to my process. Not just getting feedback but getting honest feedback. One of the best things a writer can hear in a workshop situation is 'This is not working for me because." It's even better when the criticism is accompanied by examples of what might have worked better.
This is a frightening process, I understand, but the first line reader, which is essentially what your group partners are, have the response that any reader might have, paired with a critical eye. There's a reason why I call them partners. And their criticism really is meant to help you, not to make themselves feel superior or better. A level of trust is required to believe this to be true, and I have established that trust with these folks. This trust has also enabled me to sit in with other groups both as a critiquer and to be critiqued, and listen with an open mind and a critical ear, and walk away better and more productive for the experience.
The title of today's blog, 'Rhyming the Un-rhymable', was originally going to be 'What Rhymes with Matisyahu'. This was a recent shoplift of mine, which makes no real sense, so I decided against using it, even though I still adore the sentiment. But the idea of rhyming with something that has no rhyme made me think of the ways in which groups of people fit together and establish trust. Maybe nothing rhymes with Matisyahu -- sometimes things just don't fit. But when you rhyme the purportedly unrhymable, and find your group of people, amazing things can happen with your writing.
Find your people, and rhyme your rhyme. Do it.
The Final Snippet: He was in an abusive relationship with himself. (Since I said it I don't think it counts as a shoplift, exactly. More just me patting myself on the back. Yeah, I do that. Now go away. Go write or something.)
p.s. (or should that be post blog?): Thanks Chris, Aaron, Matt, Sue, Jodi, Morgen and Terry. You are all awesome. Adn I still think Glittery Monkey Wrenches is a good name for a new group, even if I'm not in it :)