For some writers, being part of a WRITING GROUP is kind of risky. Who’s hearing your story? Who will stab you in the back and use a story without your permission? Is the feedback any good? Is everyone contributing the same amount of work? Did someone mistake the group for an onsite dating event? Etc. etc. etc.
I’ve had some encounters with these type of fears before. But I really do love writing groups. I think they are valuable and interesting and weird and above all – they usually have fun snacks. And that’s always a plus in my book.
However, in this industry (here in La-La Land), people are a bit more cautious with sharing their stories, and rightly so. You never know when your idea might show up in someone’s tv spec/episode/improv show/stand-up routine/open mic event/you name it — it lives here in Hollyweird.
So I’ve taken it upon myself to start WRITING MEETINGS. Which, unlike a WRITING GROUP — where everyone just looks at each other and people take turns explaining their plot and character, and in some cases (when texts are long) — talk about ONE person each week (or however many days you meet in a month) — no. A writing meeting has slightly less pressure for the writer to have a finished product; especially in the first few meetings. It involves a writer meeting another writer, or two or however many you can stand, and sit with them in a space of your choosing to write.
My friend and I have been meeting at a café for about a month now, and it’s been really rewarding. Because it’s a blocked time when I will sit my butt down and write. Also, she’s really on top of her sh*t, so when I see her tapping away at the computer it urges me to keep on going myself. Actually, it’s encouraging to have her there. And then if I have any questions, or if there’s a passage I want her to read – she does it and visa-versa. We’re right there when the moment of inspiration happens, and if we choose to – we can talk about it.
Personally, I have found that a WRITING MEETING is much more productive for me. It allows me time to write, to feel a little competitive (but mostly supportive and supported), and it also it gives me instant feedback.
I did not invent Writing Meetings — I’m sure some cave person did long long ago when storytelling because the rave with us human species. But I thought I should share.
If you are one of those frightened writers who needs a little privacy and motivation, get out and meet with someone. I think I will try meeting with non-writers to see what that enables in me next.