I gathered up my courage and went to my first Writers Group at the State Library today. I’ve been meaning to go for a while now but honestly, I have always been too scared. I decided that after nine months of calling myself a writer and now having quite a few published articles under my belt (including one off my ‘big goals’ list) it was time to push past my fears of meeting new people, people who were potentially better writers, better read, better conversationalists, already established in their clique and to do something that would ultimately benefit me in the long run.
I was pleasantly surprised.
Everyone was friendly. There was a smidgeon of small talk but certainly not enough to make me feel uncomfortable – we pretty much got straight down to business. A third of the group were first timers like myself. The first girl who spoke had just submitted her first manuscript for consideration to a publisher. Impressive. Another member was in the process of editing her ‘written but mostly unplanned’ novel. Another was in the middle of writing/filming a short film for his first entry to Tropfest later this year. These were all the established writers. The majority of the group were somewhere around the intermediate mark, having done some writing but still discovering their style or process. So I actually felt very comfortable with my level of ability and experience.
I had a realisation. These people who were all regular writers (and some of the work that was read out was very good, amid varying levels of confidence) actually did not know a lot about the theory or rules of writing. And yet while I have read a lot about how to write and don’t do a lot of it myself, I realised these people are just doing it, and doing it well – and here I am stressing in the corner because I know all the rules and am scared of breaking them.
But I digress.
So I came away with some new friends, a new support group, some homework and a goal for the next month: to dedicate one day a week to my creative writing. I need to decide on a word count for the day, but I really don’t know what I am capable of. I will set it at 1,000 for now and see how I go. 1,000 words per week until the end of the year = 30,000 words. Maybe I can finish that novella!
And something else which I might expand on in another post: I wonder if I am writing the right kind of fiction? I have been fixated on writing a science fiction story, probably because that is the kind of entertainment I enjoy and surround myself with. But that doesn’t mean it is the best kind for me to be writing. Just a thought.