Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why Writing Groups Are Like High Pressure Systems

Today I would like to tell you all that I am grateful for my writing group.  I know that I've expressed  frustrations about being in this group and not always feeling it fit my needs, but today they were a bigger help than maybe they even realize.

For the past two months I've been trying to work on finishing up my winning NaNoWriMo story.  While big changes at work didn't help me have time to write, I struggled with more than just the time crunch: I had hit a wall.  It wasn't just the plot or characters, but suddenly anything I wrote sounded flat and left a stale, cardboard taste in my mouth.  I was at a transitional, potentially pivotal, part of the story line and I couldn't get past it.  

It was the perfect hurricane of doubt: insecurity and perfectionism spinning together with a few key, unanswered questions sitting idly in the eye of the storm right above my head.  I wanted to swim away and break free, but the storm was so daunting that I didn't even know which way to go.  So I gave in and floated there, stranded at sea.

Today was my first opportunity to attend writing group since the new year (can I just say again that my work schedule in Jan and Feb was horrendous?) and I finally confronted my hurricane of doubt.  I started to explain my story to my group members and asked the questions that had been sitting in the eye of my own personal storm.

And you know what?  My group had insights that ultimately lead to answers.  It was as if they were a high pressure system moving in, lifting my spirits and sweeping my storm away.  For the first time in two months, I thought, "I can do this.  I can still write this story."

So the moral of today's story is don't be afraid to talk to other writer's about your frustrations.  Thinking I wouldn't find the help I needed held me back for months and while I'm not foolish enough to think moving onwards will be any less challenging, I certainly am more clear headed and optimistic about it.


Bluestocking said...

I'm so glad you got something out of your meeting! Sometimes it doesn't matter if you don't get concrete advice/feedback -- just being in a space with people who know what you are going through can make all the difference! Happy writing!

Lena S. said...

Thanks, Bluestocking, for you're support! I hope you're own writing is going well!