Good morning! It’s Deb Owens, the newest —and now fifth—regular blogger on this terrific writing blog. I’m just starting out in the blog-o-sphere, so I would welcome any comments you might have, or suggestions for topics you would like to see me address. For today, though, I’d like to share a bit about my Monday writers group and why I think it will be a wonderful resource for me and the other writers in the group. (My next entry, on August 31st, will focus on writing dialogue.)
When I signed on to lead a group, I figured it would be a good way to get some feedback on my current projects and to provide myself with a little bit of motivation to actually write every week. (I come from a journalism and legal background where deadlines rule the world. Meeting deadlines was never a problem. But now, with no “real” due dates out there, I’m finding it more difficult to get things written.) I also thought it would be useful to meet a few writers from the area.
Well, we’ve only met twice thus far, but the group is all that I expected … and more. It’s an incredibly diverse group of people with a wide range of interests. Most surprising to me is the fact that none of us are working on the same types of projects.
We have Jonathan, a distinguished gentleman from England. He writes short stories and short-shorts that contain quirky plotlines and mysterious characters from far-away lands. Then there’s Thelma, a history buff and former salesperson who is researching the life of a historical figure from a nearby town in Connecticut. Janet is a professor of English at Fairfield University. (A fact I found rather intimidating when we first met. Shouldn’t she be leading this group?!) But Janet, who is working on a mystery, says she also needs a bit of a push to keep writing. The group also contains Kathleen, a paralegal who is completely new to the world of writing, and Erica, who crafts personal essays on related themes.
As for yours truly, well I have always been more of a researcher and reporter of fact. Now, however, while I’m on a leave of absence as Editor of Fairfield Magazine, I have finally decided to get to work on some of the fiction projects that have been floating around in my head. The one that is coming out first is book for girls in the 9-11 age range. My funny, bright, sensitive 10 year-old daughter is the model for the main character.
Sharing writing with a diverse group of people virtually assures that the writer will get a variety of points of view and a wide range of feedback. Some listeners will focus on the language, others on the plot and still others on character development. (It’s a heck of a lot better than reading your work to a spouse, parent or best friend who is bound to “love it!” … or to at least say he or she loves it.) Moreover, a varied band of writers can provide amazing resources and assistance. Thelma told us about the Gotham writers workshops in New York, and Erica brought in a wonderful book on writing, Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. And this is just the beginning.
That’s all for now. I’ll keep filling you in on what the group is up to and what we’re learning. Take care, and keep on reading and writing.