Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Too Many Writers Groups?

Last night I was in Wilmington, DE, for the fourth meeting of a new writers group. I enjoy getting out to socialize with other writers. Writing is a solitary profession, and meeting others who do the same thing reminds you that you’re not a crazy person.

But I’m now in three different writers groups: one in my home town, one in Bucks County, PA, and one in Wilmington, DE. And I wonder if I’m spending too much time in (and commuting to) writers groups, and not enough time simply writing.

As long as these meetings serve as a self-imposed deadline for writing, I suppose they’re worthwhile for me. I wrote a short comedic essay for last night’s meeting, and I’m sure I would’ve put that off without a deadline.

I’m also told that I generally make useful comments at these groups. At last night’s meeting, I referenced Jane Austin, Donald Barthelme, the Brontë sisters (and their brother, Branwell), James Maberry, Petrarch, Darrell Schweitzer, and Shakespeare. I’m not sure if that’s profound or pretentious. Probably it’s both.

I usually write short, funny pieces for these groups. You never know for sure if something is funny until your audience laugh. When I read my new piece out loud last night, I got laughs in most of the right places…but not all. I also got a good suggestion on where to end it. Finding the right “button” to end a piece is always one of the hardest tasks.

So I expect I’ll be at the next meeting of the Wilmington Writers.

However, I’ll plug the writers group of which I’m currently the president: the Brandywine Valley Writers Group meets monthly in West Chester, PA. For information, go to or click here.

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