Last night, for the first time in a long time, I was able to make it to my local writers’ group in Muscatine. I have to admit that I can’t quite recall the last time I attended a meeting. It might have been before I took my most recent teaching job, and that was two years ago. Sometimes it’s tough to make it to meetings when you work out of the county you like in. I had joined several years ago, even served as the club’s secretary for a while. But after a while, with some life changes, that faded with the new job.
It’s honestly a good thing to be able to meet with other writers. At the very least, it’s an opportunity to meet with others with the same interests and socialize. Hopefully, it can go beyond that and they can serve as a reading resource for you or as a sounding board for writing advice, marketing, getting published, etc.
My writing group involves a wide variety of writers. Most but not all are older than me. Quite a few of them are poets, which I have only somewhat dabbled with. And to be frank, not too many of the members are writing the same type of material I am. I do say, however, that those members have been nothing but supportive of the work I’ve shared with them. As a writer, you would always like to be part of a larger writing community, but I live in a modest size Iowa community, and there’s only so many writers in the area. (We had a pretty good crowd for us last night, about a dozen people there.)
As part of trying to kick start my writing and writing networking, I’ve joined up with some Facebook writing groups and starting to reach out to some people online. There might be a better chance to meet some people that write more of the stuff I do. But I think in-person and online writing groups are like in-person and online teaching. I’d say a writing group in-person is to scuba diving as an online writing group is to traveling in a submarine. Both experiences get you underwater, but with a different level of interaction with the surrounding environment. In the online environment, you have to make an extra effort to connect with people that would often be second nature when face to face with someone.
Regardless of the relative strengths and weaknesses of any particular group or situation, it was good to talk writing with people again. It was good to get back into the swing of things again.