November 8, 2011

The biggest writing group in the world

That's what NaNo is, isn't it? An enormous, international writers group. And everyone's doing (mostly) the same thing! Which is cool, because writing can get lonely, and having some like-minded people to talk to about it can be a lifesaver. NaNo even sponsors local meetups!

And that's what this post is about -- the joy of some face-to-face real-time interaction with other human beings.

Don't get me wrong. The internet has, literally, saved my life on several occasions. I'm shameless about my need for online communication on a daily basis (well, an all-day daily basis is probably closer to the truth).

But nothing beats once in a while being in the same room with other people. There's a different vibe to hearing actual voices, whether they're fighting to be heard or laughing, and seeing the expression on someone's face as she reads what you're written (or explains why your latest metaphor is a poor tortured creature begging to die). I'll give up the internet when you pry it out of my cold dead hands, but there's something about  being in a roomful of people that gives me a total energy boost.

Last night, I got to do just that. I'd met some local YA authors at a signing here last week, and they invited me to join them! (Which is really generous and trusting, because writers/critique groups sometimes develop this precarious balance, and a new member is sort of like adding a third leg, or a dragon's tail. Although a dragon's tail would be sort of awesome, actually.) And we spent two hours talking about books, writing, publishing, and teen voices, which was exactly what I needed.

Try a writers group sometime. A real face-to-face one.

Do you belong to a writers group? Do you have a critique partner? Tell me what you like about it, or don't, in the comments!


  1. Thus far I'm in two writing groups and have a smattering of friends on the web I can go to at impromptu moments. Love them all to death! After having some of the worst writing group experiences it is so refreshing to be around people who are as excited about your work as you'd like people to be and to get excited about their work. It's all give and take and I wish more writers/artists realized that. We can't move forward without each other so give everyone the same amount of respect.
    I won't say the negative about experiences in the past but will just say that we're like a support group and every so often one of us says "Really? You really liked it?" and you know it's heartfelt and not lip service. Being able to formulate ways to better your work while also hitting high points is something that not everyone can do and when you find people who can it's amazing.
    So glad you found a great community at a signing. Isn't it great to just talk about it with others and have them just get it? Love it!

  2. I love you for commenting. You're my best commenter!

    I was in a group before we moved here that was also great, and really supportive, and really did the work (tactfully! with understanding!), instead of just offering hair pats and meaningless cheering. I hope this one is the same way, definitely.

  3. Aw shucks. Thanks! Love your posts.

    I hope this group is akin to your old group also. Do you keep in touch with people from your previous group and do the online exchange?
    God bless the internet.

  4. I do keep in touch with my old group, but only socially. It's very much a face-to-face group, though, and that works for them.