We all hear about how insightful they can be, but how many of us are part of a group that isn't online?
I know it's convenient to just log onto Facebook, LinkedIn, or Discord and chat with like-minded writers, along with sharing our work and hoping for reads.
But those can only get you so far. And that's where meeting in person comes in. So, let's jump into my experience!
How I Found Mine
The ball got rolling in mid-March.
I was reading the latest issue of an events magazine for my favorite bookstore when I spotted a section advertising open writing groups on one of the pages.
The two that stuck out to me were Prompts and Writing Fiction. The others were mainly poetry-related, and it wasn't what I needed.
Prompts had a siren's call to me, though. It was exactly what I'd been looking for. And it fit better into my schedule.
Of course, I didn't start right away. Prompts only meets every first and third Wednesday of each month.
And since it was closer to the end of March than the beginning, I figured I'd wait until April to join; I prefer starting new things at the beginning of the month.
Why I Joined
Lately, I've struggled to find an initiator for a story, even if I know vaguely what I want to write. And it is frustrating as hell at times, especially when there's a cool challenge I want to enter.
Also, I felt like I'd hit a plateau in my growth as a writer and knew I needed something to push me forward.
And unlike many others, I prefer the face-to-face vibes and interactions of in-person events. So, I decided to give it a try.
My First Session
It's from 10:30 am to noon, so I had to rearrange my morning schedule a bit. No big deal there.
But it took me a few minutes to find where the group meeting was; made a slight challenge when carrying a wooden writers' messenger bag because you thought it was cool and your mom gave it to you as a birthday present.
When I finally found it, I was surprised by how small the group was (only six of us) and that I was the youngest one by at least thirty years (I'm twenty-four).
So, those factors made me feel a bit on the spot, but I didn't back down and found a seat and introduced myself to the others.
We quickly got to writing our first prompt, the time allotted for writing being about twenty minutes per prompt.
When we finished, we each read what we wrote to the others. But not to critique; it's more of what we notice about the piece and like.
And for the first time in a while, I felt inspired. Of course, I was bummed when the session ended, but at least I had a couple of new ideas to finish and post.
The Following Sessions
They haven't been much different from the first one, although I often don't see the exact same people. So, introducing yourself is a standard practice in the group.
Each prompt differs from the last, making what I create each session dynamic and cool. And I love how people interpret the same prompt so diversely.
Some stick to stories, others to poems. And I write whatever fits that prompt, so it often doesn't have a category I know of, which is one reason I created a Substack.
I also value their input on my work. Again, it's not a critique but gives me insights into my writing style, what works, and how I can improve.
Not that I don't appreciate the comments you guys leave me, because I do, but they see it in its raw form, so it's easier to adjust it before releasing it into the world.
Stories From Prompts Published on Vocal
Here are the ones I was able to post on Vocal:
Stories From Prompts Not Published on Vocal
Sadly, not all the pieces were poems or had a high enough word count to be published on Vocal (not including the ones entered into the Microfiction Magic challenge).
So here are the others:
These were published on my Substack, as will other pieces unable to meet Vocal's word count requirements or categories.
Will I Stay in the Writing Group?
Short answer: Yes.
What I've gained in the few sessions I have attended is invaluable, and I have no reason not to continue.
I might even try to join more than one, finding this one so gratifying as long as it's not in the evening since that won't work for my schedule.
Should You Join an In-Person Writing Group?
While I never try to tell you guys what to do, I think if you can, you should at least search for one.
I understand that many of us can't attend in-person groups, but since being in one, I think more of us should try. And you will likely need to attend several before finding one or more that are a great fit for you.
But if you are unable to, some groups meet over Zoom, so that could be an option for you. I just prefer being in the same room as my fellow group members.
You can't replace having someone sitting beside you or writing in a journal.
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