What’s The Word? My thoughts on writing groups.

It’s no secret that writing is a solitary endeavor.  Hours spent hunched over the keyboard, or scribbling notes.  Daydreaming about people and places that exist solely in the imagination.  Rejection letters and posts that rarely get more than a few views.  In some ways it can be thrilling but there’s also that feeling that no one around you gets what it is to be a creative writer.  It’s almost like being in a foreign land where you don’t speak the language or understand the customs.

Fortunately, there are writing groups out there.  I’ve been involved with a few over the years, both in college and afterwards.  What I enjoyed about them the most is that regardless of the genre other writers have a common empathy and understanding of whatever struggles and successes you’re having with the creative writing process.  In a writing group I’ve also had the chance to be involved in the critiquing process which can be a great tool to help improve my own writing as well as help others grow as writers.  Its one thing to have your mother or friend read something you wrote, and an entirely different idea to have someone well versed in the craft of writing to do so.

The only problem I’ve experienced with writing groups is that meet in person is that everyday life can get in the way.  You don’t always have the time to meet or find the time to write a critique.  Writing groups like this can also be derailed from their main objective if people bring in their petty squabbles or biases toward a certain genre.  I experience the genre bias first hand in the last group I was part of where the majority of the small group preferred sci-fi and the discussions began to be dominated by that genre while they were dismissive towards horror.

That’s why I’m glad that I came across the web site scribophile.com.  Unlike the majority of the web, this site isn’t filled with trolls or spammers.  I’ve found that the people on there are serious about their writing and take a constructive approach to critiquing.  The forums on the site are well worth reading and participating in.  Amongst the chaos and calamity of  the web, Scribophile seems to be a sanctuary for creative writers.  The other thing I like about it is that you’re not required to critique everything, unlike a small in-person group, and those that chose to critique  you are doing so because they’re interested in what you wrote.  The other thing is that with scribophile.com I can go and critique or post when it fits my schedule, I don’t have to drive to a location through rush hour traffic or look for parking.  It’s a lot more convenient for me since I work a full-time and part-time job as well as having a family at home.

I’d encourage any creative writer out there to give scribophile.com a look, regardless of your genre.  I’ve seen everything from splatter punk horror to erotica to hard sci-fi on there and everything else.  It’s definitely open to anyone that is looking for a place to exchange ideas and improve their writing.

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