Writing is, by nature, a solitary pursuit, but I think there comes a point in the career of most writers when they want to reach out to their peers. When I first started out I didn’t realize the need to get and give feedback. After all, everything I wrote was perfect on the first try – right? Then the realization hit that maybe I’m not as good as all that. It could have been the first or the 50th rejection letter. Maybe it was the look on the face of a friend when they assured me my story was really good. You know that look when they’re saying one thing, but their body language is saying something else.
I joined my first writing group years ago with the hopes of meeting others that could help me improve my writing. I’ll be honest, it was a selfish thing. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to help them out, but I came to get help more than give it. And it worked. With each successive writing/critique group, my writing has improved, and along the way I’ve learned how to give as well as I get. I realized somewhere during the journey that critiquing others is one of the best ways to improve my own writing.
The problem is, the farther along you get the harder it is to find others that can help you move forward. You hit plateaus along the way – at least I did – where you find yourself in a group of newbies when you’re a little more seasoned, or maybe with a group of writers that are not as serious as you.
So I’m on a quest for the perfect group again. This time I recently moved to Charlotte, a much bigger city than where I’ve been living. I thought it would be like a smorgasbord of writing groups, and it is, and that might be the issue. I’ve been so used to just one group in town (I started the last one because there were none) that the choices are a bit overwhelming. I feel like Goldilocks in search of the perfect bed – this one’s a bit too new, that one is not quite organized, and none so far are just right. So I’m going to continue to visit the different groups in the hopes that one fits, or at least grows on me.