Writers have a tendency to also be avid readers. Yes, folks, writers are readers!
We read to explore new worlds without leaving the comfort of our favorite chair. We can cross the plains of America in a covered wagon with a cup of coffee and a doughnut in our hands. We can be enthralled in a steamy romance while lying on a beach blanket.
Why do we read? We get ideas for writing from reading what others have written. We can study character development. We can create exotic worlds from seeing how other authors develop their fantasy planets. We consider sentence length, grammar, punctuation, and style from the words in those published works.
Sure, we read for entertainment or knowledge and sometimes just for something to do. We find authors we love and crave their next book. For me those are writers like Kevin J. Anderson, Brian Herbert, James Lee Burke, and Jeff Shaara…each of whom writes for a different audience. Their work can be inspiring, and writers need to be inspired!
As writers, we also read to learn how other writers grab your attention and keep it as they develop a plot through various crises to a climax. Part of why we read involves a never-ending search for new authors whose work we will either love or despise. Those we dislike usually have but a chapter or two before they lose us.
And no writer wants to lose their readers…for whatever reason! So we read.
Writing groups are much like family. Some groups are larger than others, but each person in the group will have a definite personality that will come through and need to be interacted with. Then there is the unique writing each author in the group possesses. Once again, some writing you will have more in common with than others depending on genre, subject matter, audience and simply style. Don’t we find more in common with certain siblings or cousins than others? It is human nature and the nature of a family.
What is the glue that binds us together? Families have history; writing groups have language. The language of writing and the writing process is unique to English teachers and authors. Who really considers point of view? How many people do you discuss verb tense with besides your writing group? Who responds about whether a group of words contain a definite subject? Who cares (or even understands) if there is a clear antecedent for the pronoun that is written? Exactly what I mean.
Besides the technical side of writing, who else can really understand having all the stars aligned, a whole day ahead of you reserved just for writing, and sitting down to the computer only to have no ideas come to you to write about. Who else knows what it’s like to feel the euphoria of being accepted by a publisher and then the depression because of the pressure of an editing deadline? Writing is a solitary endeavor, no doubt, so it is very special, and some would say necessary, to have a group-like family to meet with on a regular basis – to have a writing group.