Thursday, February 09, 2006

Virtual Community

Should writers bother with writing groups?

I've read conflicting views on the subject. Some successful writers have called them a waste of time and others say they would never have been published without them.

I lean toward the 'waste of time' argument.

Writers write. And all the while they are sitting in a circle congratulating each other on how good their writing is, they aren't producing any writing. All they are doing is contributing to a mutual admiration society.

But that's just my opinion.

I joined a writer's group once. It was painful. There were quite a few members; they were all enthusiastic but many of them plowed their energy into self-publishing and winning awards and talking about what they had 'published' and what awards they had won. The evening couldn't end soon enough. I never went back.

So what's a writer to do? I think the new technology favors us. Blogging, and being part of a blogging community is, in my opinion, as valuable as being in a writer's group. More so.

In the time I have been lurking about and sampling the blogs of writer's both published and unpublished (let's call them prepublished--yeah, I like that, I'm a prepublished author!) I have gleaned valuable advice and insight on both the craft of writing and the business of becoming and staying published.

The other thing I've noticed is, unlike an actual writing group, this virtual community interacts by writing. How perfect is that? I get to start the day reading a few writing-specific pep-talks and priming my own pump by composing a quick post.

That shifts me into writing mode quicker than listening to Mary read a poem about her petunias.

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