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To write or not to write in a group

Writing about Writing in a Group

“Writing is universal in that it is part of a dialogue with our inner and outer worlds. Whether that dialogue blossoms fully in the world or seeps out in hushed innuendo, incomplete and uncertain, is up to the writer.”– says Ralph L Wahlstrom in The Tao of Writing.

He follows this up with the following advice for budding writers:

“Take a moment to write and read with others. Join a writer’s group. Start a group.”

I love the idea of a writing community. I am part of a group blog, I exchange story critiques with a few writer friends, I have taken to writing once a week with another writing friend. I love the energy group writing brings, and sometimes the results are magical.

What do you think– is writing in a group productive, or as I have heard some people say, a complete waste of time?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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6 Comments

  • Damyanti says:

    Elviza,

    No, you are not pathetic. We all go through that stage, when our writing is very close to us, so close that any criticism of our writing seems like a criticism of us as people.

    But the very fact that you are aware that you don’t take criticism “very well at all” means that you are aware of your extreme sensitivity.

    It WILL disappear, if you let it. Think of it this way–when you write on your blog, it is your writing too, and you are perfectly fine with exposing it to the world.

    It all depends on what you want to do, if you write for your pleasure alone, you are fine the way you are, and that is awesome. If instead you’d like to share your work, you will slowly work out a way to do it without tormenting yourself.

    Most important thing: never give up, and keep writing.

  • Damyanti says:

    MM, I’m not sure where to look for one. Try youwriteon.com, seems impartial, but is more of a writing site, not a group.

  • elviza says:

    Though I have never tried that (writing in a group) since I am mostly a closet wannabe writer.

    But having people around me when I am writing is unnerving – and that is to put it mildly. It makes me feel inadequate, sometimes it’s right down scary.

    But I do have a few close friends whom I expose my writings to, and I don’t take their constructive comments very well at all.

    After hearing their comments and critics, I hid myself in the closet and cry a river. Pathetic, aren’t I?

    Tralalalalalalala 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Love group synergy, love writing, together cant be bad at all 🙂 … i wanna join a group too, can point me to one where i wont drag the whole tone down 🙁 ?

    ~Mental Mist

  • Damyanti says:

    Litgirl– I’m glad you found group writing helpful. it is all about finding the right group, I guess!

  • Litgirl01 says:

    You know…I don’t have enough experience to really say much about this subject. I have submitted some of my first novel to a couple of local critting groups and it was helpful…even though I wasn’t really ready.

    I see others that are in groups and they seem to enjoy the friendship and support. 😉 They are always there to pick you up when you feel down and feel like throwing in the towel!

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