Just Write Cat

One Writer, One Journey

First venture to a writing group July 19, 2009

Filed under: You Can't Do It Alone — justwritecat @ 1:00 am
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I was browsing the website for our local library (a favorite pastime), when I came upon an announcement for a Writer’s Group meeting.  As I am going to attend an upcoming conference in Seattle – with the hopes of putting the first pages of my manuscript ‘out there’, I figured showing it to local writers first was a good idea. 

My husband drove me to the meeting – long story, but I do not like to drive on major highways, and the meeting was a good 25 minutes away.  The route was rather picturesque.  Along the way I thought – not for the first nor tenth time – how the Pacific Northwest provided such an inspiring backdrop.  We recently moved from Michigan.  While a great place, not always so alive with color and scenery. 

I arrived a few minutes early (if you’re not ten minutes early, you’re late) and found myself one of four adults in the group.  Along with three youth (maybe ages 10 – 14).  I have to admit – I was startled.  Not that they wanted to write – kudos to all three – but that I might have to share something of my not-for-the-young work in progress.  I write about vampires – and spirits, and things that go bump in the night.  Which is fine for young adults, but I also write about s-e-x.  Nothing too graphic, but still – I wouldn’t want my Mom reading over my shoulder as I worked on some of the more ‘colorful’ scenes.  So – sharing it with such a young audience was too daunting to consider. 

Shamefully, I left.  I felt like a deer caught in headlights – not sure of what to do.  I was already feeling vulnerable (sharing my work with someone other than my family for the first time), so that pushed me a bit too far at that moment. 

As we were driving away, the realization of what I had done hit me.  Then the guilt (I was raised Catholic, plus I’m a Mom.  Double whammy).  What message had I sent to the young aspiring writers?  Not a good one.  I had been selfish, blatantly so.  My husband sensed my guilt.  He’s good about that sort of thing – and even better about helping me with anything and everything.  He turned around.  We got stuck in a traffic jam due to a truck driver who got carried away and ended up going in the wrong direction (thank goodness, there were no injuries from what we could tell).  An hour later, I arrived for the last part of the meeting.  Everyone was very nice, funny – and inspiring.  Being part of a small group of people who have a common goal – to express (something – fear, love, sadness, hopes, ideas…) is quite an experience.  You feel less alone.  And writing in a lonely exercise.  Well, all your characters keep you company – but it is still lonely.

Happy I ventured back, I am still ashamed I did not stay in the first place.  Yes, I did get much needed feedback on the first few pages of my manuscript.  More than that, I learned something about myself – and that while writing might be a lonely experience, one does not have to be alone.


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