My First Writers Group

I’d written a prologue. It was 6 pages, double spaced. After combing it over, and over, and over, and over, I’d known it was time to send it to my friends for review.
I was quite pleased with my work.

One friend asked me if I was serious, and gave me an uncomfortable chuckle when I said I was; another friend sent the prologue back with so many red marks that my confidence began to crack.

Maybe this wasn’t for me. Maybe my dream was to remain as such.
The same friend sent me information about a website called Meetup to help me find a writers group. I skipped all the more serious groups that only wanted published writers, or an application process. Besides, I was as new to the world of writing, and didn’t know much of anything beyond the actual writing of the book, and I didn’t really know all that much about that! Writers groups, alpha readers, beta readers, it was all Greek to me. The Daily Kick in the Pants was great for helping me to understand the craft of writing (hooks, try/fail sequence, killing your darlings, etc.), and it reiterated a valuable lesson—critiquing helps you improve your craft. So I went to the Meetup, six pages of prologue in hand.

That’s where I met Lisa.

She was a year older than my mom, and the only published author in the group. I can’t remember how many people there were…maybe 8. I took the seat next to Lisa and offered sincere, constructive critique, even though I felt less than qualified to offer my opinion of anyone’s work, not matter how stilted it was. We were all allowed to read 6 pages, double spaced, of whatever we wanted to bring. By the time we got around to my 6 pages, an hour and a half had already passed and I already knew what kind of critique I was going to get—”You write really well! This is really great!”

I didn’t need to hear how well my writing was, I needed to hear what was bad about it, and identify my weak spots.

I got an email from Lisa the next day.

I wouldn’t be half the writer I am today if it wasn’t for her.

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