I am a writer. You are a writer. We are expressing ourselves in our writing in so many ways. There is not always an end product or a definable finished form to share. Your words are an important expression of your humanity whether read by others or not.
Writing groups, whether for memoir writing, mindfulness or creative expression are flourishing. Some are peer groups of friends sharing. Others are guided by a teacher or coach. Almost every time someone reads THE WOMAN IN THE PHOTOGRAPH they ask if I took a writing group. My own book started over a decade ago with a memoir writing group I took in an adult ed class. I was just going for fun and one day the “prompt” was to write about a photograph. “The woman in the photograph is not my mother….” I wrote. My heart skipped a beat at the impact of that thought. I didn’t know that ten years later it would be a book.
Some of us live in urban areas where groups are easy to find. But if you want to start on your own, here is a wonderful guide you can use to jumpstart your own process, or as a format for a mutual support group. It’s called “Writer’s Adventure Guide: 12 Steps to Writing Your Book” by Beth Barany. It offers encouragement, structure, and some fresh ways of approaching your writing life.
Another way to play with writing is to read other books and write reviews. Many authors, including me, appreciate reviews on Amazon or Goodreads or other online sites. When you write a review, you get to think about what makes a good book. Here’s a nice blog post from Beth Barany’s website, writersfunzone on writing book reviews. You need to scroll down to the post on writing reviews. This is a cool way to generate thinking about what makes a book compelling, or what was a drawback.
So here’s a true story. I was in the bank depositing my first checks from the sale of “The Woman in the Photograph.” I had a copy of the book in my hand, and of course I was so excited that I showed it to the teller. Soon another teller leaned over and wanted to see it. They asked me a few questions, and before I finished my banking, I had sold three more copies. But the best part was that I got an email a week later saying that they all loved the book, and they wanted to talk to me about writing and self publishing. We are planning to have tea next week. Writing is no longer just a solitary activity for introverts. Writing, reading, and reviewing are part of participating in community
So enjoy your reading, your writing, and how about trying your hand at a review this week. Let me know how it goes.