Friday, October 9, 2009

Like-Minded People are like a good Drug! by Diana

It is cool and crisp in and about the mountains here in Pittsburgh, Pa! The leaves are turning color and inspiration abounds amongst the pumpkins and 'Steeler' lawn ornaments :-).

Recently Publishing Trends took a survey of Publishing Industry people- this group included Literary Agents, Editors and those in Marketing/Sales and Rights. Listed amongst their favorite thing about their job was working with like-minded people, being amongst books all the time and traveling. For some it was about the free coffee and still others, office provided technology.

Like-mindedness is heady stuff. Which brings me to one of my favorite subjects:

Writers Groups

I like to attend Book Signings at my local bookstore every chance I get. No matter what the genre - I have always been interested in the writers journey. I sit and listen to their aunts and cousins ask them the routine questions that paint me a picture of the author, provide for me pieces of his personal history, inspiration and passions. When most of the questions have been asked I wave my hand in the air and query, "Do you belong to a writers group and if so what role did your writers group play in your becoming a published author?" and they ALWAYS reply, "If it were not for my writers group I would not be where I am now."

About eight years back, I had the fun of belonging to a writers group for about two years. We met at the local Barnes and Nobles in Sioux Falls South Dakota, where the manager supplied us with reserved tables and free coffee or tea:-) We began each meeting with a 10 min writing prompt- a warm up and then a 20 min prompted writing time. We then would go around the circle and read what we had written. It never ceased to wow me at the totally different perspectives and viewpoints. From the same prompt one writer spun a horror tale, while another began a contemporary romance, and another a poem. We followed this with a period for critique of pages brought by those who wanted it. I loved our group. We were a great mix of humanity and talent. Old, Young, Women and Men- we became a close group that celebrated holidays and milestones together as well as honed our writing skills. Not all in my group were Christians but we were knitted together like a close foster family. I was playing at writing, I knew I was there for the fun once I compared my writing to the others. They had skill and were gifted in a way I wasn't. I was witty and appreciative of them so they allowed me to stay :-) And we were like-minded and I was amongst books- stacks and stacks of books. And there was free coffee:-) Heady stuff!

If you are not a member of a writers group or critique group, I want to encourage you to join one. Google 'writers group (your town)' or 'writers group (your State)'. Give them a call. I am sure that if you surround yourself with other writers, not only will you hone your writing skills and feel more inspired, learn new methods of breaking writers block, and get the help you need for those pesky point of view problems you have been having. You will make some lifetime friends as well.

From my heart to yours,



T. Anne said...

One of the reasons I love the blogging world is the fact it can function like a writing circle. I often refer to it as such. One of my favorite blogging buddies is your client Jeanette Levellie. It's amazing how many friendships I've forged and how many great minds I've encountered through those friendships. Writers are an awesome group of people!

Karen said...

While we don't function exactly like a writers group, my Barnabas group has been instrumental in keeping me centered and moving on. We are six ladies who have never all been together at the same time and come from three different areas of the country. Our common bond is that we are Christian writers who often write for the general market and who want to be a light in the world. The group's main function is to encourage each other but we enjoyed our online fellowship so much, we ended up writing a Christmas book together.

Diana said...

Isn't it a great thing when others 'get you'? I love to be in those environments:-)

Nikole Hahn said...

My writers group (a chapter of ACFW) is two hours away. I just joined ACFW two weeks ago and now I am hoping to find a way to the city to make it for a meeting a few times year. Meanwhile, I facebook with some of them. One of them has been a great inspiration. I write Christian-Fantasy and so does my friend. We had a connection right away.

Jeanette Levellie said...

When others understand your heart, it feels like they've handed you an expensive gift. You don't mind getting a few paper cuts (words of correction) as you open it, because their gift of affirmation fills you up.

If not for a writers' group two and a half hours away and the friends I've made there, I would not be where I am today.

Excellent post, Diana.

Carrie Turansky said...

Oh I agree! Writers' groups are so inspiring and encouraging. I belong to the ACFW group in Philly, and we will be getting together tomorrow for a writers' slam - an all day gathering for writing, brainstorming, meals and sharing together. I can't wait. I also belong to a small local group of 4 women writers in my town. This group provides a lot of encouragement too, and it is a wonderful outreach for me to these friends who don't know the Lord personally yet. Then there is my on-line critique group through ACFW. They help me polish up my work. I am blessed with writer friends!

Caroline said...

I've belonged to different writing (critique) groups at different periods of my life since I've picked up my writing pen seriously. It's there I've made some valuable friends who've helped me grow as a writer. They've pushed me out of my comfort zones & forced me to take the next step in writing. Thks for the blog, Diana! Superb!

Stevie Rey said...

That's great advice on the writer's group thing, Diana. I've always wanted to do that. Lord knows I need help editing my work! When you write in dialect I suppose the editing is as important as the writing itself!


milliens said...

Great points! I ALWAYS learn from you! YAY Diana! and thanks!