Over the last little while, I’ve posted a lot about my wonderful writers’ critique group, Writers on Words. Readers of this blog have read about our changes in membership and our journeys to publication – we’ve all achieved publication, which is amazing! – as well as the more recent ebb and flow of participation. I’ve also shared with you the regeneration, if you would, of the group this past summer. After a bit of break, followed by honest group discussion about what we wanted and needed, we experienced a period of meaningful re-engagement that was truly exciting.
And yet, we seem to be floundering again. We had that spark of engagement this summer, and even took on a daily texting check-in early this fall. Essentially, one member would initiate a text with an update on words written, pages edited, or butt-in-chair time for the day, and the others would celebrate and share their own updates. It provided some good accountability, and it was also fun to cheer each other on.
But, then life happened, as it does. One member went on vacation. Another had a business trip. One’s work schedule got busy. The texting check-ins became erratic, fewer members had accomplishments, and then it just. . .stopped. I became overwhelmed with life – injuries for both husband and child (they’re doing great), which have required surgery/physical therapy/rest/doctor’s appointments – and simply couldn’t initiate our meeting invitations. Another member was out of the country. And so, we’ve not met in quite a while, and no one is clamoring to do so.
This begs the question – has our group simply run it’s course? While we enjoy each other’s company, we write different genres and are in very different places in our publishing journeys. Our small membership makes it quite difficult to weather the times when one member simply can’t participate fully; instead, when one slows down, the whole group loses momentum.
As autumn begins it’s more serious progression toward winter, the leaves having lost the last of their color and fallen to collect in ever-growing piles on the ground, the unusually warm days disappearing, and the air moving from crisp and clean to piercingly cold, I wonder if our group is also at the end of it’s season. How do we know? The letting go of something that has been a touch-stone for me for nearly 12 years is a painful idea. And yet, it’s become so much work, emotionally and physically, to keep it going.
There’s no clear answer at this point, and I’m not ready to make a decision for myself, much less the group. The questions I’m asking myself are hard and uncomfortable. And frankly, I hate winter, so there’s that. We all know that the changing of the seasons is inevitable, the cycle of life and death on-going, but that doesn’t mean we all love the process. Mostly, I do, because I enjoy Spring and Summer more after winter; I’m reminded to appreciate the joys of those seasons, the warm sun, vibrant colors of flora, the explosions of birds and butterflies. Putting away the cold weather gear is a milestone to enjoy! For WoW, I can’t quite visualize what the next season might hold, the joy it might bring; at least, not yet.
Where does WoW go from here? I just don’t know. What do you think?