By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine
Writers Groups are available to most everyone these days. If you find a good one you enjoy it is worth a drive to get there. We have a great one and over the years it has developed into a close knit group of writers from various backgrounds. All are supportive of one another and all share their love of writing.
At each meeting we have an exercise where three words are thrown out and we are to take these three words and use them in a paragraph. We have a limited time to do so and once time is called we take turns reading them to the group. It is always surprising to the different directions taken with these three words. It is also surprising to see the doubt on the faces of some of the writers as they read their works.
Over time I have noticed how their self-doubt turns to self-confidence and from there success. I think there are several reasons for this. Each of us will go through a period of getting to know the group. We ask ourselves, “How out of step am I with all this?” How out of step with this new world I find myself in. Do I fit? It takes time to tell but once we feel comfortable with the group we know what to expect from each personality. They know what to expect from us. We soon realize we do fit.
Once we feel comfortable and realize we fit we then have to ask ourselves “Does the sound of my voice carry?” Do they understand what I am sharing with them? Is it clear, precise and interesting? Honestly it may not always be but we all learn from this and we learn if indeed our voices carry.
What better place to learn than among your fellow writers.
The singer songwriter Michael McDonald said “I don’t know that we ever overcome doubt. We have to remember “Doubt” is a poodle in the bushes and not a grizzly bear.” Once we understand and overcome that, we are ready for success. I find it amazing that this simple exercise we repeat at each meeting is a small representation of what each writer goes through with each piece they write. Do I fit in this world of writing? Will they hear my voice? Will the confidence come? I can say after each meeting and each exercise there is confidence. It grows with the support of our fellow writers.
There is a lot to be said for a good writers group. I hope you can find one like ours.