I’ve finally dealt with the reality that I will not be the next Margaret Atwood. It hasn’t discouraged me from writing but what might have was the complete lack of publication despite my several stories and a failed romance novel. I blame my astrological sign for my enthusiasm about new projects and my equal reluctance to do the work to make them worthwhile.
That’s where my writers’ group emerges as the hero. Writing can be a pretty lonely pastime but when there’s an discerning audience to share a piece with, the sting of rejection isn’t as sharp. Learning to hear and accept that the words didn’t drip with golden elegance from your fingertips is hard. Those adverbs you love? They are a sure sign of flabby writing. Slipping between present and past tense? It isn’t done. Hard lessons.
Your eloquent prose has only confused the reader. Reading a new bit of writing to the group can be humiliating. Out loud, in your own voice, the errors jump off the page. Then improvements can begin.
The great thing about the writers I’ve met through the years and through this small town writing group is their support and enthusiasm. I met a writer twenty years ago and our mutual interest led to a close and deep friendship. A couple of the writers are much younger but the problems of writing and finding time is the same. I value their opinions and their friendship.
We have had male writers join until life got in the way. For twenty years one other writer and I have maintained the group in its various incarnations. On Feb. 20, 2020, we are celebrating with a self-led workshop and a celebratory lunch.
The things I have published, have been improved and critiqued by the group. Different eyes on your work makes you aware of its weakness and its strength. If you can find a group of supportive, sharp-eyed writers like I have, don’t let them go.
Before I end this. One more thing is off my bucket list. As a retired teacher who had dabbled in writing for years, when the Alberta Retired Teachers announced their writing contest, I was sure I was a shoe-in. A humbling experience awaited. Despite entering each year, the best I achieved was an honourable mention. I was ready to give up but last year I tried one more time. With help from the group, I won one of the categories. Not a threat to Margaret Atwood, but it made me happy.