It took me eight months to rock up to the Melbourne Social Writer’s Group. I was so nervous but I had to reach out – I was drowning in my own head. I walked along Melbourne’s beautiful river and in to the Wharf Hotel where I saw the Meet Up sign sitting on top of the table in between four other people. I introduced myself, laughed nervously, got a glass of wine and asked what everyone had been writing. All four people threw their laptops and print-outs on to my lap.
As I read, more people turned up and they didn’t ask questions about who I was or what I was doing there, they didn’t speak in awkward polite tones about the weather or about the Kardashians and so immediately, I felt that I had found home.
It has become important to me to reach out in a social environment and talk about things that interest writers, not just for my ideas, but for me.
At a writers group, one might find themself lamely joking, ‘sorry, I can’t concentrate, I’m stuck in my character’s head on a planet in the future right now’ but no one judges you. And no one judges your ideas. There is a mutual understanding that each writer is on their own journey and it is up to the individual to make their own mistakes and learn from them.
Meeting with other writers is a great way to grow in writing, not just in skill or experience but in confidence.
My writing and editing knowledge has improve based on being in a social learning environment with like-minded people who care about perfecting their craft.
With the practice of skills, comes experience. I have often found myself helping others with something I have already experienced. This helped consolidate my knowledge and gave me a different perspective and confidence in my abilities.
With experience, comes confidence. As confidence builds, one begin to make more decisions that will save time and energy and improve the quality of one’s writing. It is good to learn to openly accept criticism, as well as note it in other writers’ work, and provide feedback constructively. This can help to develop one’s writing.
An important aspect about socialising through various writing groups is that it brings all different types of writing styles, genres, experience, mediums to the table. This means that you can be inspired by others’ writing easily, creating more creative input.
Also, you kind of build a family. One you don’t mind showing your non-fiction to…