You’ve written something—a poem, a short story, a chapter, a piece of creative nonfiction. Way to go!
You’ve read and reread it countless times and you’re sure it’s as good as it can be. Yes!
But now what? What’s the next step? For many people, it’s sharing the work with others. Choose your others wisely—you want people who:
understand the writing process
produce work you respect
have empathy with your frustrations
can rejoice in your triumphs
can offer helpful suggestions
support and encourage
Good writing groups fulfill all those qualities. After being so close to your work, of knowing and understanding everything you’re saying, you can easily miss things that other readers pick up straight away. Perhaps you’ve changed tenses unknowingly or tend to use the same phrase over and over or have similar descriptions too close to one another. Maybe you have little variation in your sentence length. Or your characters all talk the same. Whatever it is, you can be sure a good writing group will notice and set you on the right path without making you feel like a fool.
The Thunder Bay Writers Guild is one such group. It’s been around for decades and consists of twelve members who meet monthly to critique each other’s work. As members critique the work of others, so they learn to hone their own editing skills. But more than anything else, a group such as the Guild keeps its writers writing. Members are expected to submit at least three stories a year; in fact the ability to regularly produce good quality writing is a prerequisite for becoming a member.
If you’re curious about how the Guild works or about their critiquing process or you’re interested in joining or forming a writing group yourself, come out to the next NOWW workshop on Tuesday 14th March at 7pm at Waverley Library. Four long time Guild members will be there to demonstrate their critiquing process and to answer any questions you may have. Perhaps it’s time to take your writing to another level.
Sue Blott has been an active NOWW member almost since its conception. She also belongs to the Thunder Bay Writers Guild (since 1999), LUNA (Lakehead Unfinished Novel Association) and ParaTactics poetry group. Her writing is greatly improved by the support and critiques from these groups.