A writers’ group is great when you’re starting out, but they can come with hidden dangers. If you’re ambitious and have pro aspirations for your creative writing, you need to stay fiendishly sharp, and challenge yourself with the best. Is your writers’ group on the same wavelength? Or safe and complacent?
Some danger signs:
1. You’re more interested in the cake than the writing.
2. You’ve bought everyone’s books, and they’ve bought yours.
3. You have a dusty pile of unread member books by your bedside.
4. You feel increasingly guilty.
5. Everyone’s far too nice about your Shitty First Draft.
6. You fall asleep during someone’s reading.
7. You’ve spent more time organising the group anthology than actually writing.
8. They’re writing cozies and you’re all about techno-thrillers.
9. You know a disturbing amount about everyone’s inner lives.
10. You know a disturbing amount about everyone’s spouses.
11. You know a disturbing amount about everyone’s illnesses.
12. You know a disturbing amount about everyone’s revenge fantasies.
13. You’ve won a writing award and no one gives a toss.
14. The group proportion of writing to editing is 99:1.
15. The group proportion of writing to self-promotion is 1:99.
16. They ask for your agent’s phone number.
17. You’ve run out of ways to say “intriguing”.
18. You over-use adverbs just to wind people up.
19. You practise “what ifs” at your meetings to pass the time.
20. You can no longer sit still without twitching.
21. Your writing notebook is full of member descriptions.
22. The words “show, not tell” make you die a little inside.
23. You give painstaking feedback and they ignore it.
24. You give painstaking feedback and they murder your cat.
25. You realise they know a disturbing amount about you.
Ring any bells? Have you outgrown your writers’ group? What were the signs?