Wednesday Night Writers’ Group Turns The Page

Last night was our final writer’s group meeting at All On The Same Page Bookstore.  The bookstore is closing this week.  Robin Tidwell, the bookstore owner, and I started the group over a year ago, meeting one night of every month from about 6pm to 9pm. In the beginning, there were never more than 3 or 4 of us – including me and Robin!  Over time, the group grew to as many as ten once. Last night there were eight of us, all regulars for sometime now.

We’ve always been an informal group, spending most of our time rambling on subjects not even related to writing or books. Someone always eventually read something they were working on.  We’d listen intently (though Facebook pics from last night’s meeting might make you think otherwise) and then we’d give feedback.

We’d sip wine and share our lives for a few hours.  It was a much needed affair for all of us in some way, or we wouldn’t have continued to come otherwise. This was the group I first shared Dickinstein with and read a few chapters in the editing stages; I bounced other ideas off of them as well from time to time.

Last night we each asked questions as if we were interviewing authors or writers.

  • Who are your influences?
  • What’s been your defining moment?
  • If you had to write a blurb for a memoir, what would you say and whose memoir would it be?

My question was, “What has been your most disappointing moment as a writer or author?”  It was a question that I actually didn’t answer out loud myself due to a lack of time, but my answer wouldn’t have been any different or more inspiring that anyone else.  Others said lack of sales or getting bad reviews, and I’d agree with them.

The influences question was an easy one.

And even the memoir question was fun since I’d just read a few this past year, even though I’m not usually a memoir fan. It got me to thinking about writing a slice-of-life memoir of my own thanks to some other advice given in the group.  Which slice would I pick?  That’s the next question to answer.  We all have a story to tell.

As for the defining moment, no one’s answer beat one new author’s reply who said our group had been her defining moment because she’d never shared her words with anyone until she found us. We were her defining moment.

Heartfelt, yes, but down deep that’s what a group like this is for. Whether or not a group’s purpose or expectations is clearly defined, put a bunch of writers in a room and the edges get blurred. But to be told in the end that the one true purpose of a group like ours had been reached is all that matters.

Hopefully, our group will move on.  We’re losing our quaint little space in the middle of a shotgun-style used bookstore, but there’s a back table in a Starbucks somewhere waiting for us.  With our purpose having been reached here, we’ll find a new one.

We’ll strive to change the life and words of another aspiring writer.  We’ll sip lattes and take bad Instagram photos of each other.  We’ll bitch about our bad reviews and our bad days. We’ll make each other laugh and smile.

We’ll read aloud and give advice.  We’ll make memories and write memoirs. We’ll stick together.

We’ll ask questions.

We are writers. We are travelers. We are friends.

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5 comments

  1. Didn’t get a chance to answer the most disappointing moment question either, and wanted to because it came up recently. For me, it’s not so much a moment as a phenomenon. As a pretty new writer, trying to make headway with published stories and working on a novel, it’s been quite strange and disappointing that many people I know are almost awkwardly disinterested in my efforts. It’s not even casual apathy, but almost an earnest attempt to not be interested despite themselves.

    I don’t understand this, but I’ve heard it from other very new writers as well, so I know it’s not exclusive to me. It’s unfortunate, but won’t keep me from moving forward with what I love doing.

    • Thanks for sharing. I can relate to that! I think that reaction (or lack thereof) comes from an inability to relate to your passion. I have coworkers who have pets and love animals, and we share that bond and can talk about our pets and even ask about each others’ pets without being prompted, but mention a book or writing and they are like a deer in headlights.

      I like to say, “Down deep, no one really cares.” Or like I said at the meeting, “When we lose our parents, we lose our only true audience.” I recently read a book that talks about how indie authors don’t know how to introduce themselves at a party and admit they are authors because the next question is, “Have you published anything?” which is just a nice way of saying, “Do you make money doing that?” And we all know the answer to that question. And sometimes because we haven’t published or we aren’t well-known (and may never be), we feel that saying we are a writer is false or carries a stigma. We’re an odd bunch, to say the least!

      I think that’s why our group is important. We need to associate with fellow writers to be reminded that there are people out there who are interested in our efforts.

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