In today's essay, Ann Lamott wrote about writing groups and I just realized how many more groups there are to belong to. She speaks about conferences and about writing classes. Critique groups also get a plug. One thing that struck me was when she spoke about doing critiques and how one should not be cruel. Sometimes this does happen in groups and the critiquer isn't trying to be mean. Al least I hope not. This person is being honest and blunt. Nothing can crush a writer more than harsh remarks about their prose. Of course the other side is too much praise may not be good either. I find trying to concentrate on one thing when doing a critique can make the critique positive. Hurtful things don't do more than make a person want to give up. One of the things she said was that these groups should offer support. When someone is down listen to all they say and encourage them.
Now to what struck me was the proliferation of groups on line. I belong to a number. These aren't really groups that look at my writing and offer suggestions but they do answer questions. Some are just for sharing my good news. Others take a different role and that is of promoting what I've written. One problem lies in having too many of these groups and not participating in them fully. I'll admit this is one of my faults but I try and if there's something I wish to comment on, I will do that. Perhaps not as much as I should.
What about you? What kind of writer's groups do you belong to? Are they local and hands on or are they national and informational or are they on the net with sharing the highs and lows the main purpose? Do these groups help keep you going in what is often a lonely road?