Why Writing Groups

By Ruth Wellens

            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.