I’m just back in from my writing group, which was a bit different from usual this week. Normally, we discuss a poem (or occasionally short fiction), then we have 20-30 minutes to write something new, then we discuss our newly-drafted pieces.
Today, instead, we had a ‘work in progress’ day where we bring in things that we’ve written outside the group.
I do appreciate the chance to have something critiqued in more detail than we can normally get into (because normally we just read out our writing: today we distributed copies). As always, there were some really helpful comments. I find it particularly useful to run something past the group when I’m not sure whether it’s generally understandable – it’s a good mixed group so if everybody ‘gets it’ I can be pretty sure it’s comprehensible. I’ve come home with a few notes that I’m sure will make my poem a lot better.
But I feel a bit at a loose end having not written in the usual way this afternoon. I did try to write something on the train home but it’s a bit feeble. There’s something about that quiet, timed atmosphere that seems particularly conducive to getting something written.
The first time I went to the writing group, the timed writing seemed a bit like an exam (not a bad thing, I rather like exams). “Turn your papers over now! Your question is…” and the relief when one of the three prompts is something that seems tractable. In contrast, writing at home has started to feel a bit like coursework: something that I keep putting off then do half-arsedly. Even the poem I took along today was one I’d done for a (now defunct) online writing group rather than just spontaneously.
I don’t think I know of anywhere else locally where you actually write in your writing group rather than just bring something along, but if there is one, I’d like to hear about it! Or if anyone would like to join me in some timed writing, in real life or online. Clearly I need the adrenaline!