The talking never stopped! Last week the children’s writers group I belong to gathered at my home. Normally we meet at McNally Robinson Booksellers but the audience for a popular book launch was expected to flood McNally’s last Thursday so I invited the group to my condo instead.
Three members were missing but that didn’t stop the rest of us from having a great time exchanging personal news, reading pieces of our writing for the group to critique and sharing plans for upcoming writing projects we have just started or are envisioning. We discussed an article that provides statistics on the state of children’s writing in North America. It included facts and figures about the success and efforts of those of us who write for a young audience. We had a lively debate about the article’s findings.
After the evening was over I thought about why I love my writers group so much.
My writers group inspires me. Hearing about the successful publishing track record of some members motivates me to keep trying to get one of my manuscripts published.
My group makes me more accountable. I want to have writing to share every time we meet and that often gives me the push I need to make time for children’s writing in my sometimes hectic schedule filled with other writing assignments I’ve accepted.
I know I’ve become a much better writer because of the critiques I’ve received from my group. Recently I was getting ready to submit a manuscript to a publisher. My submission needed to include a query letter, biographical statement and synopsis. For two months I read those documents at each writers group meeting and each time my writing friends helped me improve them, till they were finally at a stage where I was ready to submit them.
My writers group gives me confidence. Their praise and encouragement keep me believing that someday I too will get a manuscript published.
And finally, my group provides entertainment and friendship. Before we sat down at my dining room table last Thursday to ‘get down to business’ so to speak, there was time for a lively chat about our families, activities, travels and life challenges.
I realize my writers’ group enriches both my personal and writing life and I am so grateful for that!