Last year I began attending a writers’ group. We read what we write and criticize each other. It’s a healthy experience, but it seems people don’t like to beat up on their peers. They’re too nice. I love it when someone beats my writing up. Not because I’m a masochist, but because that’s the only way I really learn. Kick my butt, I say, and they say my writing’s pretty good. No, I say, lay it on me. But they don’t. That’s not my confession though.
Here it is: I attend a writers’ group because when I criticize someone’s writing, it causes me to look much deeper into my own. There’s nothing more humbling then telling someone they shouldn’t use too many adverbs, or whatever, (in front of a group) then realizing that I’ve made the same errors and my writing is up next.
As corny as it sounds, the real benefit, for me at least, of attending the writer’s group is that it makes me a better self-editor. It took me a few years of writing before I started this because I tend to be a loner and prefer to live in a cocoon and write in a corner somewhere. Not to mention, there’s always someone cocky in these groups who believes he or she is God’s gift to the literary world just waiting to be discovered.
I’m wondering if anyone else out there attends writing groups and whether or not they find any benefit. If so, let me know.