- You just don’t feel like writing today/aren’t inspired/lost faith. . . . The group meets on Wednesday. They expect some work from you and don’t really care about your drama. Besides, they’ve been there and pushed through and expect you to do the same.
- You have just written the most spectacular, beautiful, evocative prose since cuneiform. Doesn’t have a lot to add to your work in process but you can’t bear to cut it . . . The whole group in unison tells you to get over yourself and cut it.
- You have painstakingly researched factoid X and you are absolutely going to wedge it into your story, even if it doesn’t quite fit because you find it so fascinating. . . . Someone will point out the not-fitting part and suggest you save the factoid for cocktail party. Maybe somebody will listen.
- You are so immersed in your period/setting/topic that you assume that all educated readers know XYZ so you don’t have to give the slightest bit of context. . . . Your group will beg (or insist) to differ.
- You slack up for a bit and produce some writing that’s “good enough.” . . . Your group will say it’s not.
- You decide that writing is too hard. You are giving up and taking up something that’s easier. Like climbing Everest barefoot. . . . . Your group will tell you to keep writing.
- You are so invested in your character, you feel his/her pain/pleasure so keenly that you are just sure that intensity is on the page. . . . Your group will tell you “Nope, not yet.”
- You are so invested in your character that when it comes time for that character to suffer, you just can’t bear it. You also can’t bear to feel the pain yourself. . . . Your group will tell you to bear it. Go deeper.
- Your friends and family love you and all, but they don’t really want to hear any more about your writing troubles, or your plot, or your characters. . . . Your group wants to hear about all this. All they ask is that you listen when it’s their turn.
- Your character is edging so close to yourself that you lose perspective . . . Your group will point this out. Probably bluntly, but in they end you’ll (the writer you) will be grateful.
- You are totally stuck. Written yourself into a corner. Can’t make a plot point work. . . . Maybe someone will have an idea.
- You have taken this piece as far as it will go . . . Someone will raise an issue, ask a question, and after your initial shock, a door will appear in what seemed a wall, and you will find a way to go deeper, to do better. You will astonish yourself.
There are more reasons. These are just the first that came to me. My group would tell me there are more.
Can you suggest more?
Exactly! And I shall seek out a poetry group when I return to my other world!
Your writing group will support you when you need it most. (This is probably close to number nine.) When your group is built on trust, you know the members just have each other’s best interests at heart — that’s why we can take suggestions, process them and then incorporate the ideas into our writing. Writing is a lonely business, but it is great to get with other writers — our tribe — and discuss our most precious project and get the feedback that going to helps us make it better.
You’re so right, Bonny.