18 more weeks
The Art & Craft of Writing!
Saturday, March 8, 2014
9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Last week we announced the date of our upcoming 2014 Pamlico Writers Conference and Competition (March 8, 2014). In that announcement, we also shared two websites for you to visit for information and registration.
In this week’s post, I’d like to talk about the importance of writers groups.
What is a writers group?
It’s a group of like-minded writers who have come together to write, read, and share their talents with each other. It’s a group whose members take their writing seriously and want to refine their work. Most groups consist of members with varying degrees of expertise, but each working toward the same goal—having their work published. Finding a group that’s right for you is key. When you find it, it can help your growth as a writer. There are on-line groups available, or if you prefer a more personal touch, there are groups who meet at a designated place and time.
“Why?”, you may ask. I’ll explain. When I started writing years ago, it was just me, the pen and a pad of paper. I was my only critic, afraid to let anyone else read what I’d written, thinking it wasn’t good enough. Sound familiar? I took several classes and discovered writers groups in my area that met regularly. Once I had a couple of sessions under my belt, I brought a piece I’d written. It was the first time I’d read in front of an audience, and I was nervous. When I finished, I looked up and everyone was smiling and clapping. The ice had been broken. I’ve been with them ever since.
It’s hard for us to put ourselves out there, worrying that others will judge our work harshly. My experience has shown me how to trust other writers who are, like myself, somewhere in their own development. I am now a member of two groups, each sharing different aspects of the writing process and helping me to evolve. They have also helped me develop confidence and courage in my reading as well as my writing abilities.
Writers do most of their work alone, either sitting in front of a computer or with pad and pen. A writers group, when you find the right fit, gives you an opportunity to associate with others with similar interests, helping you step out of your comfort zone to read your works aloud and receive honest critiques. Critiques are crucial to a writer. We’re too close to our own work to see the flaws.
If you are not currently a member of a writers group, explore the groups in your area. Attend a few meetings. If one isn’t a fit, try another. If there aren’t any groups in your area, consider starting your own.
Remember conferences and competitions help us evolve as well, so attend as many as you can. Get out there and learn more about your craft.
Speaking of conferences, don’t forget to mark your calendars for the 2nd Annual Pamlico Writers Conference and Competition on March 8, 2014 at the Washington Civic Center in Washington, NC. This year’s conference boasts eleven accomplished presenters, with a variety of backgrounds, whose goal is to help you to hone your skills, to become that writer of your dreams. Workshops fill up quickly, so register early in order to get a seat in the sessions that interests you most.
I’d like to encourage each of you to enter the writing competition. Guidelines for submissions are on our website below. For those who are already members of a writers group, consider, fine-tuning your piece with the assistance of your group before submitting it.