1. Malc-Downing
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    Malc-Downing Member

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    Writing groups

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Malc-Downing, Apr 2, 2011.

    I recently took part in a open day at a local writing group and i was pretty dissapointed to be honest.

    60% of the people are attention seekers, 30% not inspiring and it was really only one person that really stood out to me. The next meeting is in 2 weeks and i'm unsure if i should go or not. i haven't had to join the group as yet and altho it is really cheap for a membership, i don't know if i could continue there after my first visit. Nothing against the group, i am sure they are all really nice people, but the attention seeking is just too much for me, i want to have a good time, a laugh and make friends and not listen to constant 'me, me, me, me, me'

    is anyone here a member of a group, whats your thoughts on them?
    and is it always like this?

    Do i continue with the group or do i continue writing for my own pleasure?

    Any ideas or insights would be valued :D
     
  2. nuwriter*me
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    nuwriter*me Member

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    Yes, I am a member of a writing group through an online writing program. I have yet to formally meet all of the members, but am looking forward to it. As in life, sometimes we have to simply ignore some people, and surgically sensor the irritants and appreciate the positive personalities in the group. I realise that there is only one person who has any redeeming qualities in your group, but attempt to understand or don't let the rest get to you too much.
     
  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I'm not in a writing group like what you're describing, but I do go to the local events hosted by NaNoWriMo, and I make friends on this site to do word wars and idea-bouncing and stuff with.

    If you don't really like the group, don't go. :)

    Just remember that each group has its ups and downs.
     
  4. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    This seems like sound advice to me.

    Have you considered looking for a different writing group? Or starting your own?
     
  5. MidnightPhoenix
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    MidnightPhoenix Contributing Member

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    I wouldn't go, if you don't like the group and you want to have more fun.
    I don't think they even a local writing group, where I am.
    I did tried one, but when me and my friend when it was manly just poetry , and I can write poetry to save my life.
    I hope you find something, and it more fun where you can have a laugh and enjoyed yourself:)
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    my writer/mentor take on joining writing groups:

    if you want to be a writer, just write...

    if you want to just talk about writing, find a group you'll enjoy talking about it with...
     
  7. Siberith
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    Siberith Member

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    I dislike attention seekers aswell. It makes any organization boring with everyone trying to get there two cents in(also the chaos with it too).

    I would say enjoy what your doing right now, but if it was only your first week, you might wanna try one more week just to see if any first time expierences clear up.
     
  8. bumblebot
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    bumblebot Senior Member

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    Not sure if a creative writing college course counts, but the makeup sounds a lot like your group.

    There's about 30 people in the class and maybe 3 or 4 people who write anything I can read. Most of the others also tend to get defensive when they receive criticism and just spend a lot of time telling each other how great their poems are.

    The teacher is really great though, the class is worth it for her. And it definitely has me writing more often which is also valuable.

    What would your ideal writing meetup consist of?
     
  9. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Hrm, see, I personally get annoyed if I join a writer group or take a workshop/class and people seem to be there to have a good time, laugh, and make friends because I'm usually there to work.

    You have to think of writing groups in terms of whether you'll get along with or work well with other members. If you already aren't sure, then it probably won't be a good experience.

    If you're just a pleasure writer, and you're taking a class/workshop or joining a group to get more serious about writing and start to study and work at it, then whether you like people shouldn't come into play, just whether you can work with them.

    There are people I don't personally like (including those that are me me me me types), but I learn from them, so I work with them.

    It sounds to me like the group isn't your thing, especially if it charges a membership due. Paying to be in a writing group with people you don't already want to work with sounds like a bad idea.
     
  10. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    I don't exactly buy this, though I won't say it's not an option, either.

    For instance, I took a lot of undergrad classes from an adjunct fiction professor who's book released this spring to a ton of critical acclaim (starred review in Publisher's Weekly, NY Times editor's pick, that sort of thing). He's an even better teacher, and I can assure you in this class (essentially just an expensive writing group) we did a lot more than just talk about fiction in the sense that his tutelage helped me immensely in the 'want to be a writer' department. In fact, if I ever win a Pulitzer or something fancy, he'll be the first person I thank.

    Maybe I misinterpreted your comments, but I guess it just seemed like you were taking a 'writers don't need groups, they just need to write' stance. Sure, you CAN do it that way, but writing groups can also be hugely helpful in being a writer, even if they don't get you to 'just write.' Hell, I know plenty of people who've been just writing for years, and there work remains terrible, because all they're doing is writing, never learning or growing or studying.

    So, 'just write' is a bit too simplistic. That's good advice for someone who wants to be writing.... but if you want to be a writer, writing groups can help immensely.
     
  11. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Yep, the biggest mistake people make is joining a writing group or class and thinking it won't be populated with people. People are often selfish, annoying, dense, all sorts of things that grate on our nerves. And even writers are people!

    I and others got fed up with even most upper division fiction classes. Our instructor was amazing (see post above), and I tried to actually organize a 'ideal' writing group of just people that were motivated and talented and ready to work.

    Long story short, I was naive, forgetting this group would also be populated with people, and after a few meetings the group fizzled out, hah.

    I guess the point is no writing group will ever be perfect. In fact, most will still be tiresome and pointless at times. You either put up with it and learn what you can, or move on, I suppose. I value whatever I can learn, no matter the circumstances, so end up putting up with a lot. :p
     
  12. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    I agree. It makes the assumption that only the ability to write is what makes a person a writer.
     

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