I belong to a writers group – well, two, sort of.
This is the only writing group I’ve ever joined, and I’ve been lucky enough to find a group of people who care about writing, who are reasonable and kind in how they construct their criticism, and who are as eager to hear others’ work as they are to share their own.
I’ll write more about them periodically, but for today I’m writing about an event we have set up – twice, now – that has worked out pretty well for the participants. It’s a Write-In.
A Write-In is pretty much what it sounds like. People who are working on writing projects gather together in a common place and spend the day writing. There’s a fair amount of discussion and eating that goes on as well. Anything you are working on is fair game for the Write-In. It might be original material, revisions, galley proofs, even your blog or a little bit of PR (although that last is a bit of a stretch). The idea is to have all day devoted entirely to writing, with no personal or household distractions.
I sort of brought one household distraction with me. My son belongs to the same writing group, a result of being a talented writer himself and of being used to hanging about with me while I coached writing in schools as he was growing up. Actually he’s good to have around; he’s an excellent critic and editor, and he has a humorous way of getting to the crux of a writing problem. Fact is, while critiquing is not a central part of a write-in, it’s good to be around people you can discuss your work with and work out particular problems. The sort of talk you can’t find at home or with colleagues from work. And everyone will understand when you cut discussion short, dash over to your keyboard and start typing.
Some write-ins get a little loud and social, especially when the food comes out. Some are held in public places like libraries or coffee shops, and some are held at a fellow writer’s house. It’s a group’s own little writers’ retreat. No matter how famous you are or not or wherever you are on your writing journey, write-ins provide a great opportunity to focus on your work and add to your word count. Try it, and let me know how it goes.