Most writers read something that could at least loosely be described as creative every day, but how many of us write every day? I identify with Sylvia Day when she says ‘As for discipline and rules, I confess, I’ve never been good with either.’ Being part of a group will mean regular prompts and an expectation in you from your peers that you will be taking something along to the next meeting. At our monthly Binge Inkers group most of us achieve that. Mind you, some of us from time to time have a touch of the Douglas Adams about us. He said: ‘I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.’
To improve your writing
“We have to be continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
Pushing myself, taking risks and getting honest feedback are things that have helped me grow in my own writing. I will almost always have an emotional attachment to what I have written which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a bad thing in the sense that it can cloud my judgement. My peers are able to puff the clouds away when I can’t, giving constructive criticism in a frank way. Their comments also open up options and possibilities I hadn’t thought of.
To grow in confidence
Reading my work aloud for the first time was a revelation to me. I’m used to public speaking, but when I read that first poem aloud to others in my writing class, I felt terror. My voice actually quavered. I was ten again. That doesn’t happen now and the process of reading your work aloud in front of others is a helpful part of the editing process. In my current scriptwriting class, it is an essential part of finding out what works. Growing in confidence through the group also allowed me to send off work to be published, something I reckon would have taken much longer if I were not a member of the group.
‘The world always seems brighter when you’ve made something up that wasn’t there before.’
One of the problems I have with making things up is that most days I have a brain like porridge – the kind that’s been left a while. Having monthly prompts (this month’s is ‘Love with a Twist’) gives me a spurtle with which I can stir the stodge and allows me see what treasures might be hidden in the oaty depths. Hearing other people’s ideas and work at our meetings often inspires me in this regard too.
“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”