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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Creating a writing group for parents


How cool that I'm hitting on a trend - day after I posted about writing groups, THIS appeared by an NYC agent!


Some people asked about creating your own writers group. Yes—absolutely possible. Easiest is to be the only person with kids in the group, but that can get depressing – everyone else is happy to read 100 pages to finish a manuscript, while you have to go to a PTA meeting with Quentin’s teacher, and then the next day you have to take Francelia to her one-year Pediatrician appointment. Harold comes down with a two-day stomach bug, and there goes your reading time. It’s far easier to schedule non-parents (except the ones that travel a lot for work)—on a regular basis.

But like I said, a writing group is your community. It’s nice to have people in it who actually “get” your writing issues.

If you know two or three other writers that have kids, see if they would be interested in a trial writing group. This is a great option for single parents. If the kids are little, you can even do it during the day – just jointly hire a babysitter to look after the kids, and remember to keep an ear out (or set up a signal – a bell or something will do) so that kids don’t walk in on writerly conversation that might not be appropriate for them to hear. You have to be very free and open in a critique session. Voices can get raised, and if you’re really pushing the boundaries in your writing, the topics can get inappropriate for young ears – I’m not even talking about sex or violence. I’m talking abuse, lying, suicide, abandonment …the big ideas that inhabit serious literature of all genres is not something a four year old need to be asking about.

Other parents that are writers have formed groups that meet in various homes after bedtime. Sometimes this means sitter, often it means hero-spouses who not only have to deal with “girls/boys night out” but also “writer’s night” – because this is your career, your writing group counts as a business outing. Yes it does. Even if you like the people in your group and are friends with them. This is not you going out and getting hammered – so save the wine for AFTER critiques. Keep the crit session to a certain allotted time and keep it serious. This is your career. Don’t waste it talking about which school your kids got into.

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