Saturday, November 30, 2013

December 2013 - Why write as well as you can?

Why write as well as you can?  Because (you fill in the blank).

In truth, it doesn't matter what your reason or motivation for writing is, what matters more is are you writing as well as you possibly can? But how do you know if your writing stacks up to publication quality or reader satisfaction?

If you're a writer who cannot not write, and writing is important to you, then you have probably sought out people and critique groups, shown them your work, and wondered about, hated, or loved their feedback. I call it feedback— a word with kinder and more helpful overtones than critiques and their harsh criticisms.

Now, writers form or join both in-person and online groups not only for feedback but also for comradery. After all, only another writer understands a writer, their problems with the writing life, and with storytelling— especially how to get the words onto a page that are coherent and immediately understandable.

I must confess to having run the gauntlet of writers' groups as I strove to become a published author. I have experienced everything from the blind leading the blind (all novices who had no clue what fiction is about) to the social-only groups (food, drink, and be merry). And over the years, there have been the smattering of genre specific groups, like RWA (Romance Writers of America) and OWW (Online Writing Workshop), but only one organization has saved my sanity and given me feedback on my work and the industry that has made such a difference in my writing life.

That group is comprised of an eclectic mix of novice to multi-published and award-winning storytellers who represent all facets of writing—fiction, nonfiction, journalists, memoir, poetry, screenwriting, and more. It's a network of people who believe in their organization's creed to help a writer achieve their writing goals. That organization is: Pennwriters (www.Pennwriters.Org).

I'll even confess that I've belonged to Pennwriters for 18 years now and that the members honored me with the 2010 Meritorious Service Award for volunteering my time and talents to the organization.

By now you might think I'm rambling, but the point I want to make is this: if you are serious about knowing how well you write, keep seeking writers who can help you learn, improve, and achieve your writing goals. Yes, you might find a group that is too focused and too brutal in their criticism. Then again you might find the opposite type of group, the "hand holders," who only give praise, not constructive feedback. But you need feedback in order to achieve your publishing dreams, so network among your fellow writers. In this holiday season where New Year's resolutions are pending, why not make your 2014 New Year's resolution to find one group. Just one. And if that one fails to help you, find another, and another and another until you discover "the group" that enables you and your writing. 

Wishing you all the best with your writing endeavors,

Catherine E. McLean
Copyright Material @ 2013
This blog is updated the first of each month

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Anonymous said...

Great and meaning and useful post.

Debbie Herbert said...

Great article!