Why I Don’t Do Much with Writing Groups

I’m about to commit an act of Heresy so get those torches and pitchforks ready while I pull up the drawbridge and have the servants not feed the alligators in the moat today…

I don’t have much use for Writing Groups.

Maybe it’s because when I was coming up as a neophyte writer, there wasn’t that many of them out there and those that were tended to be way outside whatever zip code I happened to be living in at a given time. Maybe it’s because other than the social aspect, I wasn’t getting any writing done while standing around sipping cappuccino and discussing great ideas that were tantamount to showing off how big your Writing Instrument was.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because when I would try to attend such things I seemed to hear the same old information being presented over and over….and over again…

I’m a very social person. I love to meet new people and Baby, I have french-kissed The Blarney Stone enough times to make some interesting conversations. But I never seem to have writing-related questions when I attend these functions. I know my experience isn’t the Universal Norm but it’s all I have to go with when that little voice inside my head tells me that I should be home at the word processor (remember those?) writing a great story.

Now the writing groups tend to be online and that compounds the problem because on top of blanking out in the face of the material, I now have to deal with private messages that are the electronic equivalent of “please hold my hand and talk me through writing my story because it’s dark and scary out there.”

Of course, I’ll help where I can but taking someone personally through a step by step procedure for writing a story is like trying to put training wheels on a motorcycle. You could probably do it but after a certain speed it won’t work and you’ll look silly in the process.

On the other hand, maybe I’ve just been attending the wrong groups. 😉


Beer Instead of Champagne

2015 is the year that I accomplished a relative milestone of getting four of my books published on Amazon. Yes, they were self-published and yes two of them were novelettes, but I think they still count because I put in the effort to get them out there. Now, I’m trying to squeeze in a fifth book before writing the sequel to Parallax and avoiding looking at the sales ranks on Amazon. I’ll tell you why that is:

Up until this year, I was mailing query letters to prospective publishers and agents and waiting for responses. The industry as I’ve come to know it frowns on simultaneous submissions because they all want to feel that they are the only game in town. That equates to tying up a manuscript for months with potentially no response given and in the worst case scenario, a nice boiler plate rejection form letter describing how it isn’t for them. After a while, that sort of brush-off tends to be demoralizing and I almost quit writing altogether a few times before a friend suggested that I try Amazon and get my work out there.

Self-publishing is a mixed bag of fun. Yes, I’m being sarcastic there because having to wear many hats isn’t always the fun fest that you would think it would be. You have to be an Editor, Accountant, Business Manager and Personal Taskmaster in addition to being the fun-loving carefree fiction writer that responds to messages, emails and the like. Then there’s the cost in Time and Money because unless you have a solid financial base to support your activities, you are forced to juggle a Day Job while you toil to make the writing pay for itself. It’s a long game to be sure.

I’m not going through a philosophical shift or anything, just a little release of frustration that I’ve allowed to build up unresolved over the past ten months. It’s what happens when you fight to maintain focus on projects when part of you wants to go outside and play. However, keeping one’s eyes on the prize is paramount when you are trying to accomplish an important goal. It still sucks when little by little, that wonderful little fantasy in the back of your mind dies piece by piece because Reality dictates a different life memo.

I’m not going anywhere. In fact, I just expanded my social media reach to Tumblr (gasp) and I plan on doing more with Reddit in the future. Now please pass me a beer. 😉