(Continued from Part 1)
Writers Groups inspire our senses and open our minds to new ideas – let’s continue to count the ways …
Creative Writing Prompts are the sliced bread of the writer’s world. They give us an opportunity to use different topics, pictures, sounds, and other creative prompts to exercise our beginnings, middles, and endings, character building, plot creations, theme, location, and scene layouts.
We can fill a jar at home with topic sentences, photos, etc, and pull one out any time we want to create a writing exercise for these reasons or to work on timing ourselves. We can use music or nature or the sounds of the trash cans rolling down the driveway.
The best part of writing prompts in a Writers’ Group is that they offer a spontaneity we can’t provide for ourselves since we are the ones loading our own jar. That spontaneity is exactly what we need at times to jar our minds loose from the novel, memoir, or magazine article that we’re writing at home.
The Freedom to Share Our Writing without Criticism is another gift of writing in a Writers’ Group. There is a time and place for an editor to bring constructive criticism to our work. There is also a time and place where we need to be free to write without worrying about whether the commas are all in the right place or our sentence structure could be improved. We jump out of the box when we have this special time to be able to write without inhibitions, and read what we just wrote without admonition. It lets us stretch!
Attending a Writers’ Group puts us in A Room Buzzing with Creative Energy. In essence, we get a “Contact High” that stimulates our creative growth. When we set aside our self-confidence issues—”he/she writes better than me”—something inside of us makes room for expansion and we can soar with eagles!
In a Writers’ Group we are Connecting with Like Minds. I remember the first Writers’ Group I attended. Two of my good friends invited me to come along with them—more because they thought I needed dragging out of my self-imposed winter hibernation than anything to do with writing, per se. That snowy February morning changed my life.
Having never been to a Writers’ Group before, and preferring to watch snowstorms from the ambient temperature of my living room, rather than driving around town on ice-slick roads, the fact that I actually showed up there that morning was a miracle by itself.
I enjoy meeting new people more than I enjoy walking into a room full of strangers—a conundrum. To add to this, I felt somewhat inferior to this particular group of people as they were real writers, journalists, and authors and, even though my periodicals have been published and I was about to publish a book, I saw myself as someone who “just writes”—conundrum number two. I wondered how I would fare in the presence of such greatness.
I added my offering of gluten-free blueberry muffins to the snack table and hunkered down in a chair between my two friends. We went around the room introducing ourselves and the first writing prompt was promptly handed out. We were to look at the picture of a location and write about it as if we were there. My picture was a lovely seaside in Maine. I had never been to Maine. No point of reference. I envisioned making a beeline for the exit. My pride fastened me to my seat. I would just have to stare at the picture until my pen decided to move and hope something worthwhile would scrawl across the page.
Knowing there was no pressure to share what I wrote provided some small comfort.
The room filled with silence only stirred by the sound of pens squiggling across paper and the tapping of laptop keyboards. My imagination transported me to a place where the scent of sweet steaming lobsters and the sound of the ocean lapping against pylons while sails fluttered in the breeze poured from my hand onto the paper in front of me.
The sound of the timer brought us all back to the room from the great journeys we had all just taken. Everyone read their stories aloud. When it came my turn, I courageously followed suit. Smiles filled the room. In that moment, I knew that this was where I belonged. This was the place and these were the people, with whom I wanted to learn and grow.
Now you know 7 of my Top 10 Ways Writers Groups Inspire Us—stayed tuned for Part 3 where we’ll talk about 3 more …
What’s next? Look for my future blog post – “10 Ways Writers Groups Inspire Us – Part 3”
For a more comprehensive look at how to improve and refine your writing skills and technique, please visit my Classes page and join me for my Writing Basics. I also offer Saturday morning online group writing sessions.
© Jennifer Sweete, March 2016