About two months ago, I joined a writing group organized by the Cuyahoga County Library. This group is for "beginning fiction writers," but the term beginning applies more to the level of workshop or writing group experience as opposed to how long you've been writing. The group is facilitated by author Sarah Willis. In March, I attended the first workshop and left with a positive feeling. We talked a little about ourselves and our writing. We critiqued the first two chapters of a group member's novel. By the end, I was feeling adventurous so I volunteered to bring one of my Zelda short stories to the April meeting to be critiqued.
We met for the second time on April 11 and I came to the meeting a tad bit nervous. I picked Zelda vs. the Snowman to be critiqued and I wasn't sure of the response or if the group was right for me. My friend Eric, recently posted on writing groups- Writing Groups: Yea or Nay? and the topic brought lots of comments on both sides- for and against writing groups.
After Thursday night, I am definitely in the pro writing group camp. The group gave me great feedback on the Zelda story and how to improve the Zelda collection as a whole. They also gave me ideas for the target audience of the series in whichever direction I choose to go (kids picture book vs kids chapter book vs adult short stories). I left Thursday night with a new list of revisions and stories to write, but also very encouraged that I really can do this writing thing. (although it will take time and more time, especially since I need to work to pay the bills!)
My group is especially helpful because we have a facilitator, an author who knows how to write and what gets published and what is successful. We also are a group of writers who are looking to encourage and help each other. That makes it work.