Okay, so I'm moving. You know what that means: cramming my life into boxes, giving away half my possessions, filling out change of address forms, and in my case ... ((sob)) ... leaving my writers group! Yes, I'm going to do what I can to make it to meetings, but reality is, most of my Tuesday evenings will now be bleak and lonely. No more venting about plot points and query letters and contest judges who just don't get me. No more unconditional support and offers of chocolate after a rejection. No more celebrating after a contract offer.
Sure, my sweetie does his best. But he doesn't understand what we writers go through. And I'm pretty sure my babblings would eventually drive him insane. Should I pick out a handy birch tree that won't mind listening to me? Hire a teenager to nod sympathetically? Maybe provide a script?
No, nothing can replace a good writers group. Getting together with like-minded people who GET IT is like oxygen. I still remember how nervous I was when it was time for my first critique. I kept ducking into the bathroom hoping we'd run out of time before it was my turn. But my lovely critiquers came through. They gently pointed out "head-hopping" issues, but also made me feel on top of the world with just the right amount of praise. I left inspired, motivated, humbled, relieved, and chanting the mantra, "I love this group!" And then I read their work. OMG! So talented, so amazing, so diverse.
My group helped me learn how to be a writer, how to get my work out there, how to handle the ups and downs of this crazy business. Writing has to be the loneliest job next to long-haul trucking. And truckers get to hang out at rest stops. Maybe writers groups are our rest stops. Places where we can recharge, connect with others of our kind, and exchange war stories from the road.
Would anyone else like to give a shout-out to their writers group? Let's give our groups some love. Make sure they know how much they're appreciated. I LOVE my group, but it will be from a distance now. Thank God for the Internet, and Yahoo loops. And for the fact that I'll be close enough to make the trip once a month. Hmm ... it's a long drive ... maybe I should take up long-haul trucking. ;)