Saturday, October 6, 2012

WRITING GROUPS

It's Saturday and the sky outside my writing room window is mottled gray. A moist autumn breeze flickers the pages piling up on my desk. And a chorus of sparrows and cardinals offer background music to the click of keyboard keys. Words flow-- ribbons of ideas onto the white screen. But this isn't just any Saturday morning. This is the special Saturday that occurs each month when my writing group meets.

We were born ten years ago when a small group of women writers responded to an ad in The Network--the journal of the the International Women's Writing Guild. We met in one woman's kitchen, over coffee and cake, to read our stories and share comments and critique. A few months later we named our group Tapestries, referring to the intricate weave of our varied fabrics. We have been meeting monthly ever since then although there have been some women who left the group while others have joined us to add new texture.

It was and remains amazing that our writing abilities, interests, and dedication to the pursuit, as well as our personalities have woven together so nicely. We get along so well and are so determined to succeed at writing that we have been going on weekend writing retreats for the past three years.

There is power in this group. We are connected to each other personally as well as through our writing. We offer considerate yet direct critiques of what each woman brings to read each month. We are here to help each other but we don't retreat from candid comments that push each other to write better, stronger, and more often and to pursue the reward of publication by sending out our work even when we are less than confident. When a writer is ready to submit to a publisher, agent or contest, we help that writer make the work the best it can be.

We are a group of five now and frequently we look to add a new member or two to bring more talent and diversity to our group. That's hard. Finding new writers who click with us is a challenge. But over the past ten years we have been lucky to have women come and go who bring their special gifts to the group, adding to the brilliant colorful patchwork of Tapestries.

So as a rosy glow blooms around those mottled gray clouds, I look forward to this afternoon and three hours of sharing and critiquing and being with these marvelous  women writers. We have shared so much and come so far in our writing and we have also become the best of friends. No matter how much someone cares for you, no one understands this writing passion, the dreams for success and the struggles to get there, like another writer. And no one can relate to a woman's particular passions and struggles like another woman.