I’m trying to get a little more prolific with my blogging, so here I am a week later with a new one. As always, thank you, for stopping by my blog! I’ve clearly somehow misled you into believing I have something valuable to say, or is deep and thought provoking, so hopefully you do find an inkling of something good in here.
First, a bit of an update as I’ve fallen behind in keeping you informed; the fishing has been lacking but my writing has been proficient! (Look at me with the proper use of big words, it’s like I’m edumicated or something) Sadly, I haven’t gotten a line wet looking for bass in weeks, so I think I’m due to go soon or I may go into fits. However I’ve allotted myself a certain time each day for writing and this has led to some very productive editing and doctoring of my novel. I’m averaging a chapter a week lately, which keeps me in line with goals, my own and those set in my writing group. Segway!
I give a lot of props to my favorite podcast, “Fanboys on Fiction”, and one in particular thing they’d suggested was to find, or start, a local writing club. Seriously people, you need to check these guys out on iTunes or online here. The show is hotter than an afternoon on Tattooine. Anyway, heeding this advice I took the plunge and found a group here in my small college town which meets twice a month at Hastings. It was the best thing I could’ve done for my writing! Just attending has made me a better writer.
The group is led by an established Author and semi-retired English teacher who, to all our benefit, loves to edit and critique, and does so gently with suggestions on how you might fix it. There are no outbursts of, “Your story sucks!” going on here, but the group isn’t just about critique and editing. The writers who attend have the opportunity to discover their own voice and style, and develop good writing habits through bi-weekly group challenges.
We vet each other’s work by providing copies to the table then reading the samples aloud. Even after hours of editing your own work, you’d be amazed at the errors you yourself will find when reading it for others! Still, you now have multiple points of view and critique to pour over and see what’s working for this reader but not for that one. I get to hear their opinions, perhaps gain insight into an aspect I hadn’t thought of before, or even gain a new idea. At the same time, I’m getting thicker skinned through their critique! Not that this was a problem for me before, but now I know I can handle it if someone was to say something mean.
Attending a writer’s club has become an invaluable part of my writing time which I cannot recommend more. Plus, for me, I get the added bonus of a daughter who attends with me! Her presence gives us both a chance to further discuss the meeting afterwards during the ride home. I’ve found that this time with her, reviewing each session, is as equally beneficial as the meetings themselves due to having the occasional different perspective on a subject.
Long story short, to improve your writing you must eventually show it to others. In my opinion, one of the best places to do this is in a writer’s club where your craft is nurtured as you gain confidence in your prose. If there isn’t one near you, contact some other writers you know and make your own! As for getting an English teacher to join you, it could only help you. You just can’t have ours!
Let me know what you think in the comments below and if you ever find yourself near Warrensburg, Missouri on the first, or third, Tuesday of each month come to Hastings and join us! Thanks for stopping by!