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Posts Tagged ‘information’

I’ve blogged before about the value of getting and giving critiques, but there are other things to be gained from writer’s groups, too.

One is just knowing you’re not alone (sometimes it can feel that way) and having someone to celebrate the small victories or commiserate with the defeats.  Let’s face it, if you go dancing out into the living room proclaiming that you finally finished that chapter that was giving you so much trouble, odds are your family will just think you’re nuts.  Other writers are more likely to say “Yep, feels good, doesn’t it?”  Your friends and family will never really know how those rejection letters feel, but other writers do.

Another benefit is the sharing of information.  There’re a lot of things to learn about in being a writer.  Not just honing the craft, but how to format a manuscript, how to find out what markets are out there for short stories, how to write a query or synopsis.  There are resources out there to help you learn these things, but it does help to have someone to point you in the right direction.

Most of the time, when I’m looking for any of these kinds of support, I hang out at Hatrack River Writer’s Workshop, an online writer’s forum.  I have never (yet) found a local face-to-face writer’s group.  Actually, I think there are some advantages to an online forum, at least at first.  You don’t have to watch anybody’s face while they read your work or while they’re giving you their critique.  If it all gets too much (which it can, at first, until you toughen up) you can always close the email and come back when you’re better prepared. 

Last night, I attended my first meeting of a different kind of writer’s group.  It was a meeting of the Long Beach chapter of the California Writers Club, a venerable organization actually started by Jack London.  It was very interesting.  The guest speaker was an agent from an agency actually in my area.  She talked mainly about what agents do and a little about how not to query an agent.  Most of the questions from the group I already knew the answers to, thanks to Hatrack River Writer’s Workshop.  I did pick up a couple of new things, though.  Maybe the most valuable thing was just seeing an agent, one of those distant people I’ve been sending queries to but never met, as just a normal person like anybody else.  Maybe that makes the whole process a little less intimidating.  I will probably go back next month, when the guest speaker is an editor.  I may even join.

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