In my last post, I wrote about the importance of finding your village or tribe or support group. You had the most lovely comments and contributions – thank you! Since that post, my writing village has begun the process of re-building.
We started by agreeing it was time to re-start! Today I’d love to ask for more advice about how we begin again; how do we re-energize, rejuvenate, and so forth (I’m running out of “re” words)?
There’s a post from when I first became a Mysterista, where I spoke of the genesis of my writing group, but I’ll give you a quick recap. A dear friend and I met when our children started kindergarten. As we went through the “get to know you” conversations, we realized we were both interested in writing fiction (she was already a published non-fiction writer) and were looking for a group to join with no luck. We decided to start our own. Over time, as members joined and departed, we settled into a comfortable group of four – our third member was found at a “Writer’s Night Out” event hosted by a state-wide writers organization (New Hampshire Writers Project), and the fourth member we met through our children! She’s a now-former middle school English teacher.
Over the past few years, as a group we’ve experienced health issues, divorces, moves, retirements, other job changes, more moves, and plenty of typical ups and downs. We’ve all published now, although none of us has placed a novel yet (in fairness, only one has tried!), but two members are ready and their work is magical.
But, we’ve lost focus. We’ve become comfortable with one another (which is good), and we’ve lost that balance – the one that says, yes, family and day job often come first, but the writing has an important place, too. We’ve slipped from supporting to a bit of, dare I say, enabling a lack of productivity or diligence or focus? Yes, I dare. You see, I am one of the guiltiest of prioritizing everything above my writing.
There’s a bit of imposter syndrome. If I step back, I can say with honesty that I think I have potential – I placed my first ever short story, and my third as well. My odds for short fiction publication are pretty good so far! But, well, if I don’t place the next piece I’m down to 50/50, aren’t I? Oy. That is the wrong mindset, but I’m stuck there.
I need my village.
So, last week we discussed our schedule and came to agreement: we start over in June, and meet every other week for critique. We’re looking at a new location, as we come from four directions and we learned early on that our homes are too personal, too comfortable, and much too distracting. We acknowledged that we need to start early (9:00am for us), otherwise we are less productive. And we still think we’d like to find another member or two, with a limit of six.
What other ideas do you have? Lessons learned from your own groups? (I’ve got a list from the last post, and thank you again for your thoughts!) Wish us luck, please. I’m really excited to get (re) started.