The Writing Group
Margaret McCaffrey - October 22 2017
It is said that you can’t teach writing. Maybe not. But writers, I believe, can sure help themselves.
Since 2008 I’ve been lucky enough to be a member of Elwood Writers (EW), a group that meets fortnightly in Melbourne’s inner city. I read on one member’s blog that our group is one of the most important assets to her writing.
This goes for me too.
Each EW member is allocated a 30-minute time slot to do with as he/she chooses. There’s an extra half hour for general discussion and rants. We circulate our work – a maximum of 1500 words – by email prior to the meeting. Mostly we devote our segment to the piece we have pre-sent.
Before each meeting my body tightens in anticipation of the groups’ critical response to my work. But the result is always worth the self-inflicted pain. Knowing an audience awaits, makes me sharpen my work. I discover word repetition, ideas not clearly explained, sentences needing to make sense, and occasionally a ‘✔’!
Writing can be a lonely profession. If you find it so – get thee to a writing group. If you don’t like the one you’re in, choose another. You will find the right fit. My group is loyal, supportive, generous and amusing.
A writing group is a productive and relatively cost-free way to edit your work (always bring food – it helps). And just think how grateful your future publisher will be when you arrive with a pre-edited, ready-to-go manuscript. Her job will be just about done.