Here is where I’m at: I attended my first ever writer’s group meeting—Me, the quiet one who doesn’t speak up in class. Me, the quiet one that is outgoing on the page, but not so much in person, except the rare occasion. The quiet one, who usually avoids these types of things—has decided that I can’t be too quiet for much longer anymore. It’s time to peel myself from the wall of quiet wild flowers.
As most of you know, since I’ve blogged about it, I have been part of writing classes and we did do a few workshops, but mostly the critiquing occurred online only. This is the first time I’ve gone through the process with a live group.
Out of respect for the group, I will not go into detail about the group itself, except to say it’s a fine bunch of writers of varying writing interests, all with the shared goal of publication. Some have already published and some are still working on it.
What I can say is I learned a lot in my first session and that the critiquing process and feedback is helpful. The group is constructive and encouraging and I’m thankful that they allowed me membership in the group.
Here is where I’m at: For the first time in my life, as a writer, I am in a sort of limbo as to how exactly to label what I write. I don’t like labels, but I know they have their place; there is a necessity to their existence.
What do I write? I am a journal writer, but I realize that in addition to being a journal writer, because I like to process my surroundings and interactions with people, places, and things—I tend to write reflective pieces. I like the freedom of free writing, and when I allow myself, I like the stream of consciousness aspects that sneak into my writing. I write a lot about my grandmother and my own life and observations, so in that regard I write memoir. I also enjoy writing personal essays, but I don’t know how many of my blogs can be called essays.
What I’m running into—the new crossroads that I’ve encountered is what to share in the writing group for critique—with the intent to submit for publication or to build a collection that I self-publish, etc. The first piece of writing that I submitted for sharing was taken from my blog. But when I step back, if I am to take this approach, I need a direction. I need to decide or visualize a finished product because my blogs are a mix of different types of writing. I’ve written vignettes, but what do I do with them if I envision including them as part of a collection? What if I want to create a book that is part memoir, part reflection, part essay, part poetry? How do I include all of these pieces of me into one whole? Or, and it could be an “And” instead of “Or”—do I begin working on small pieces that I’ve scribbled in my notebooks that I haven’t posted to my blog yet—do I submit new pieces and figure out how it all fits together?
Another interesting dynamic that I run into is that since I am new to the group and this is my first meeting, you, my dear readers have a sense of where I’ve been. This is a small note, but it’s an interesting feeling to have written so much and to have in a way “published” it and now trying to make sense of it because when I write, it’s like I’m sitting down to a “job” that I love—one that involves words and sharing. So is this enough? I think it is enough to a certain extent and it feels good to put myself on the page and there’s always more to learn and there are always improvements to be made.
So from now on, from month to month, as I decide what piece of my writing I will submit for the group to critique—and the beauty is that I can select any type of writing, as long as it’s with the intent of publication, since that is the aim of the group—I face the challenge of having a different audience, not just me—not just my blog readers, but other readers. I always write for myself and at the same time I write for others. I write to explore, to examine, to feel, to find out, and many other reasons—and I write as best I can at any given moment in time. Sometimes, the words come right out and other times, they get stuck, but I tell myself, time and time again—to keep going, just keep writing and this part is becoming easier (knock-on-wood). The part that is now new to me and a challenge since I decided to become a part of a writer’s group is that I have to figure out how I take what I already have and some of what I haven’t yet written and figure out if it has any value packaged as a book—a book of reflections and memories by Rebbecca Hill (Rebb).
The journey will be interesting for sure. The group has members with clear goals. I, on the other hand, am still in limbo trying to figure out exactly what my goal is besides a Children’s book, but I’m not ready to present that yet because I still have work to do on it and I want to work on the other parts first and from month to month I can change it up.
That’s where I am today—or right now. We’ll see how the plot develops. I know fiction is not my container. Even though I will be taking the short story writing class in the fall, I am taking it knowing that my goals are enjoyment, but also learning more in depth about what makes a successful short story. I know the class will be a challenge and I look forward to learning more about the art of the short story. I would like to continue learning how to incorporate creative elements to my own writing. But, I know in my heart of hearts that I can possibly be imaginative with children’s stories, but when it comes to my other writing, I do best when I write about the truth—about what I see and maybe sometimes I can tell it slant—I’m not sure yet. I’m not good at making things up for my characters. What I gravitate towards is holding life up with the tips of my fingers and examining it—life’s beauties and the nooks and crannies in between—and also how I process life. Is this enough? It’s enough. If any of it touches just one person in some way, that’s enough.
I don’t think I could imagine myself not blogging. I’d like to imagine myself blogging into eternity.