Friday, October 2, 2009

I Heart Writers Groups

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. ;)


Morgan O'Reilly said...

We understand the reasons for moving, doesn't mean we have to like it!!

Wow, you continue to amaze me with the way you assemble words. I'm humbled by how easy you make it read. You certainly bring back to critique table more than we give you. You're truly an inspiration and on my auto-buy list.

Glad you're not leaving us entirely!!

Anonymous said...

Juniper Bell, one in a million! We are going to be over the moon when you grace us once a month with your kindness and inspiration to be better than we are. Just remember, if you can't make it to at least one meeting a month, WE know how to find you, it isn't like you moved to Minnesota.

LizeeS said...

Well, from the one who DID move to Minnesota--trust me, I share your sentiments to the letter -- to the bone -- to the ... well, you know. One thing I will promise you about our group is that they will not drop you. You'll have to be the one to "leave" because they'll hold you up best they can no matter how far away you are. I speak from experience ... Great post, Miss Juniper!

Juniper Bell said...

AWWW ... you guys!!!!! I miss you all so much. And this trip is just a sneak preview of how much I'm really going to miss you!! Yes, the once a month thing makes all the difference. I feel bad complaining since you're right, I could be moving even further away (Liz!)

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Ditto and ditto, we feel the same way about you. Having just the right people in a writers group is a little miracle in itself, and I feel lucky to have this one. I can't imagine growing in my craft without these ladies to support me and show me my strengths and weaknesses in a caring way. I hope other writers find just the right group of people for them too.

Tielle St. Clare said...

Thanks Juniper. Your note reminds me how much I value and enjoy the writers groups I belong to. You'll be missed but not far!

Boone Brux said...

Juniper Bell, I just wanna sprinkle you with love dust and daisies. We love you, and though I haven't gotten a chance to miss you yet, I know I will. I place a cup of tea in an empty seat at our meetings. *sniff sniff*