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Joining the Group

February 1, 2012

It can be intimidating to join a writers’ group.

You open your email and it says,” We invite you to join our group. We start at 12:30 pm. If you want to eat, come earlier.”

And so I come and we are eating and it is jolly and no one is talking about the writing. That will come later.

On my first submission, I tried too hard; I put too much into the piece and, like Icarus, came free falling down from the sky.  My subsequent submission was less ambitious and proved more malleable in its rewrite.

Membership in a writing group involves commitment. It is challenging to write and submit a story, but it is also challenging to read and critique a story. Each of us does it differently. The comments – both verbal and written – make one pause. Some readers submit extensive suggestions; others are very brief; minimalist even. I pay attention to what my colleagues have to say, and feel lucky to be part of a supportive community. I won’t always act on their suggestions, but I will listen.

Alison Girling

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