I signed up for a Writing Group last month. I found a group on Meetup.com that meets close to my home and had the characteristics of my ideal group. Online, they seemed like a good mix of people both experienced and beginner writers. The group is relatively small with 25 members, but they average about 15 members at each meeting. They meet once a month with the aim of making each other better writers. You can come to watch the first time or prepare 8-10 pages for the group to critique. They even have a whole list of guidelines and suggestions to take the scary out of of the process.
It all sounds great, doesn’t it? So, why did I chicken out on the first meeting? What am I scared of? The next meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday. I have RSVP’ed, but can I work up the courage to go this time? Help me out, group.
Are you a member of a writing group? Can you give me an idea of how your first meeting went? How has it affected your writing?
38 thoughts on “Insecure Writer’s Support Group – Writing Group Fears”
You should -definitely- go! I chickened out of my NaNo meet up the first year I participated. It was just down the street and I really had no excuse not to go. Besides, I guess, because I thought they’d judge me, or something, I don’t know.
I think you should go and keep a positive attitude. You already think it’s a good idea and your’e probably right 🙂
Hy Sydney. I totally understand your insecurity. We are all afraid of the unknown at some point. But a writing group is a great place for writers, published or unpublished. It is a time to learn, grow, share, get valuable feedback and most importantly, be accountable. I just started a writing group in my city and I am so excited! One thing that’s important is that you find a group of people that you connect and feel comfortable with (hopefully). I have also learned (and hopefully this will lighten your burden 🙂 is that we are all just people. Some of the best writers of some of the best novels can’t even spell or write a correct sentence. That’s what they have editors for LOL. So give the group another try and let us know how it works out. Best wishes, Toni
Go! I went to a new group last month and it was tremendous! Everyone was super friendly. I learned about a new book, The Emotion Thesaurus, and I’m looking forward to the meeting this month. I think meeting with other writers keeps me moving forward in this often solitary journey.
Meeting new people is hard, regardless. Being an extrovert, I usually don’t have a problem, and go into a new situation like a bull in a china shop. But I understand the apprehension. I only feel that way if I think I’m out of my league.
Perhaps that’s the reason for your hesitation, but I’m here to say that you’re not out of your league. Go to the meeting, break the ice with a short story. Thou art worthy.
My little writing group grew out of Nano, and I remember the first few times being so scared to hang out with all these writers that my hands shook too much type, much less hand write, anything. So weird, because in regular life I’m not shy at all!
You’re not alone in feeling this way, so it might help to remember that the other members of the group were most likely just as nervous as you when they started out. I would go with the intention of just watching the critiques and getting to know the group. I think once you do that you’ll find that you’re much more comfortable sharing your work after the first few rounds.
In other words: Baby steps. 🙂
Sharing work is huge though, and I’m working through similar obstacles. So far I’ve found that it really pushes you to improve your craft. Good work on taking this step!
I’m not a member of a writing group, but I have close, trusted critique partners. Even “meeting” them online and opening up myself to share my work with them was hard the first time. In person, I’d be terrified! Most writer’s are introverts and maybe a little socially awkward. I can relate to your anxiety, and know I probably would have bailed too.
BUT, you can totally do this! As another poster suggested, just go and listen for as many meetings as you need, and then work up to sharing your work if you feel you could get something from it.
I hope this writer’s group works out for you, but if not, at least you tried! Let us know next month how it went, and good luck!!
Jeannette, I will give it a try and let you know how it goes.
Kirsten, I like the idea of going to listen first for a while. Until I get comfortable.
M.L. Swift, you are awesome. Thanks for the encouragement. I will take your words as my mantra for the evening, “Thou art worthy.”
Jenn, OK, I’ll go. haha. I think the writing group will keep me moving forward. I am feeling a bit stalled at the moment.
Toni, I am looking for the accountability aspect as well. I know I work better on a deadline and this will work like that. Thanks for your support. I will let you know how it goes.
Mark, It is nice to know I’m not the only one. I really have no excuses not to go. Thanks.
Okay Sydney, I’ve been where you are, so here goes. YOU MUST GO. It’s hard, hard to put yourself, your writing out in front of strangers but it will pay off. Six, almost seven, years ago, I pulled up my big girl pants and shuffled into a Fiction Writers group. It was big, around 30 peeps who ranged from literary to fantasy. The first few meetings were rough. I write Spec Fic and having to explain the hows/whys of magic to literary peeps wasn’t working. I almost gave up. Then I got a notice that a smaller group of Spec Fic writers in the group were splitting off. Years later, these 7 individuals are not just my writing group, but my closest friends and greatest supporters. It’s thanks to their beatings… I mean prompting…that I actually got published. It may take a few wrong turns, but I’m a big proponent of finding a crit group. So hang in there, go and see if maybe out of those twenty five, you don’t find some new BFFs. Or you may decide to start your own group, either way, it will be worth it.
Hi Jami. Thanks so much. I am actually getting excited about going with your great advice. And, even it its not the group for me, there are tons of groups out their, I just need to go and find one. Now I can’t wait. Thanks again.
Let us know how it went. I too have signed up with a meetup group and have yet to GO. I keep telling myself it’s because the drive is long but I know I’m just using it as an excuse. Good luck and have fun!
Hi Jenn, I hope you go, too and then we can share horror stories.
Go, absolutely. Almost any writer can benefit greatly from the experience.
If you don’t go, please cancel your RSVP before you go. I ran a writers group for the past 5 years and one of the most annoying things was people saying they were coming and never showed up. We usually had room for 12 people and often had 15 – 20 people wanting to attend. False ‘yes’es are not polite.
Noted. I felt guilty for not canceling. But, I am mentally ready to go.
I was soooo scared the first time I went to a writing group meet, but, I guess I was lucky, as a friend of mine was already a member, but it was still daunting.
When I started in the class I do I was soooo nervous! But I forced myself to go because I KNEW that it would benefit me 🙂
Good luck honey, you must go! Grit your teeth, hold your head up….and smile! 🙂
Thanks Vikki. I wish you could fly over and go with me. But, I will take yours and everyone else’s encouragement with me.
Good luck honey, you’ll be fine and you’ll love it! 🙂
Go go go! It may be awesome, it may not, but you won’t know until you check it out. Email them and ask if it’s okay for you to come and observe for a session as you are nervous.One of the writers in our group only wanted to observe. She asked a million questions and really wanted to nail down the flow of the group. She came to the next meeting with something to be critiqued. She’s amazing. The truth is, if it’s the right fit, you’ll know right away. If it’s not, try again.
We are all friends now (it’s been 7 months now) but I stil get nervous sometimes. That’s normal. You are putting your baby in someone else’s hands. Why wouldn’t you be nervous? But don’t let that stop you! Your baby can’t mature if you lock it up in the house, it must be socialized! The best work I’ve done has been with the help of a community of writers. Their unending support and understanding continue to make me a better, more prolific writer.
Also what’s the point of keeping all that genius to yourself? Show it off!
I certainly don’t want to deprive the world of my genius. Haha. I love that. Thanks.
That’s what I’m saying, don’t be selfish or stingy with the genius 😀
I’d go just to check it out. Not only can you benefit from a group, it gets you out of the house. Writers tend to be reclusive, I know I am. And I bet once your fears fade away, you’ll have a good time and learn a lot. 😀 Good luck!
I’d definitely go to check it out. Once you get there and your nerves settle, I bet you’ll have a good time!
I suspect it’s like anything, as soon as I get there I’ll be fine. Thanks for the support.
I signed up for a writing group and have yet to go. I’m not sure why…I don’t think I’m worried or frightened. I just haven’t gone. Hope you have a great time!
Go next week and just observe. Then there’s no pressure on your writing and you can just observe.
You can do it!
Thanks Alex. That’s what I’m going to do. It can’t hurt, right? I think now I’m more worried about disappointing anyone in the group who gave me such great advice. It is so appreciated.
I’d kill to find a Meetup group in my area. I used to belong to one and never went to a meeting, too scared to try… Now I feel more confident but it’s too late. So don’t let the chance pass you. I’m telling you, you’ll regret it.
Thanks Georgina. I will go. I’ll do it for all of us.
You can give yourself and the group a chance, and attend one meeting. No strings attached. If you like it there, you can go back. And if you don’t feel like it’s a good fit, then you know that you gave it a shot. It’s important to find the right group, so you don’t need to feel obligated to keep going back if you don’t get the right vibe. Good luck!!
Go for it my man. As writers we seem to want everyone to love us and fear when someone won’t. My experience with my blog has been the opposite. I love the people that offer honest feedback and fear the ones who understand me. Haha
Hi! This is one of those problems I wish were mine. Having nobody to share this experiencein your “real” life is depressing.
It sounds like we do share this shyness thing though. It’s inrimidating to get out of your comfort zone. I’m like that as well. And I’ve missed some amazing opportunities life has given me because of it. I’m working on it, and so should you.
I’ve taken the habit of asking myself the question “What do I have to lose?” before I start something new, and it helps so much. Make a quick balance of pros and cons of your endeavours and usually you realize the pros outweight the cons by tons.
Nice to meet you:)
I’m typically not shy, but when it comes to this, I am a bit apprehensive. But, your right. What do I have to lose? Nice to meet you, too.
You won’t lose anything by going. Writing critique groups can be very rewarding and enriching, provided they’re done in a positive light, and all participants are encouraged to both present their material and critique honestly. Key word is “honestly.” I know the critiquing part can be quite intimidating, but I’m thick-skinned when it comes to criticism. Being critiqued is the best thing for your writing, especially when it comes from a stranger who has no vested interest in your writing. So go for it. If it works out, awesome. If not, no loss, at least you tried.
I’m a member of a writer’s critique group which I actively participate in, so I know the initial feeling of being intimidated, but believe me you get over it quick.
Hi Gus. Thanks for the comments. Great advice. I need to acquire a thick skin. I’ll work on it.
All writers need a thick skin. You’re going to get criticized, and sometimes that criticism is going to sting, but if that criticism is honest and delivered with the best intention, you’ll learn from the criticism.
I say go for it. You have to at least give it a chance… after the first meeting you’ll know if you are comfortable… 🙂
Thanks Michelle. I have nothing to loose.
I didn’t read the comments, but I’m sure you got some support – and that’s what I’m bringing, too. When it comes to my writing, I *love* getting critiques from strangers – especially in a small setting, because it opens up discussions and if several peeps are saying that it doesn’t make sense that King Bazooka wears a coconut bra under his tuxedo, well then I would think hard about removing the offending undergarment.
So go, Have fun. Good luck 🙂
I think you should give it a go as well. As you can go and observe the first time you have little to lose. I’m part of a writing group, but we were all on the same Open University course and had been communicating online for a year before we met after the course finished.
We don’t read work and have already critiqued enough during the course to last a lifetime. Hopefully the group is for you. I know I always feel invigorated after a meeting. Even if we only chat about our writing. 🙂