I pulled into the parking lot of the local library a little before 10 a.m., feeling a bit excited. After many years, a writers’ critique group was forming in my locale under the auspices of the Palm Springs Writers Guild and the leadership of two guild members. I’d been in another critique group sponsored by the organization (a perk of membership), but the drive from the far La Quinta outskirts where I live had been a long one. Sadly, I eventually left it. I was delighted to have a group so much closer.
I parked my SUV, grabbed my gear, and walked toward the entrance where people waited for the library to open. During the wait I met a few members of the group. When the doors opened promptly at ten, we made our way to our meeting room. Other members arrived until we were seven.
What followed was a round of self-introductions. We told about ourselves and our writing goals. Next we discussed how the group would function. We shared ideas. Then we each passed out our work – short stories, chapters from novels, personal essays – to be critiqued before the next group meeting in two weeks.
The room was comfortable, the air filled with expectancy. I realized how much I missed the exchange by writers about their work and aspirations. How much I missed writerly input. Being in a critique group isn’t a necessity for a writer. I’ve worked solo for a number of years. I grew as a writer, experimented, took classes, and continued to submit and be accepted by literary journals. I do have an out-of-area Beta reader I treasure who tells me how it is. However, there were times I wanted an exchange of thoughts and ideas, live and immediate. A place to be inspired. Or encouraged. Or aided with a writing conundrum. A place. A writer’s voice.
This new group is composed of experienced writers, male and female. I look forward to good, professional input allowing us all to grow.
At the next meeting we begin the nuts and bolts of working with our craft and art. And the art of working with each other. Good stuff. Thank you, Danielle Cook and Hani Angelos, for bringing this group together.