When I left off last month, I had just talked to a friend who recommended I take another class to see where it took my writing.
I am so glad I listened!
On her advice, I inquired at AllWriters' Workplace and Workshop about their Wendesday workshop. AllWriters is a writing studio in downtown Waukesha, Wisconsin that caters to all writing styles. The director, Kathie Giorgio, said I was welcome to "audit" a session on a Wednesday night, so I took her up on the deal.
Let me say that I was incredibly apprehensive going into the room. I hadn't written much at all formally, so was sure I'd be the greenest writer in the place. Well, I was greeted with warmth and acceptance. The writing levels were all over the map - from novice to polished and published. There were poets, musician/writers and a few people looking for a way to tap something inside them. I shared a bit of what I'd scribbled in my notebook with the group and it was well received. By the end of class, I knew this was exactly where I should be.
I enrolled in the class that week seven years ago and have been enrolled on and off ever since. It was one of the best decisions I could have made. At class we bring in up to 10 pages of double-spaced writing and read it before the group. When we're done, the group of 8-12 people critique it. The critiques are intended to be positive and supportive. We're hard on each other but in a supportive way. We push each other because we want the best from one another. In the process of it all, we laugh and laugh. It is a fun group.
As a writer, I cannot say enough about how important it is to have a good critique group. It is the single most important thing you can do with your writing. I've found it's easy to think your writing is beautiful and perfect, only to bring it to group and have it humbly put in its place. It only serves to make me a better writer though, so I take it for what it is.
Next month, I'll talk more about this studio and some of the success it has helped me achieve.