On Becoming a Ghost

How many of you belong to writers’ groups (I’m talking both on and offline)? I’d wager a few. I belong to three such groups, but my drive to participate in them has severely dwindled over the past few months. They’re an excellent source of information, of course, but have far too much shiny object draw to them for the would-be writer. It’s too easy to chitty chat your day away and, as a professional procrastinator, I can attest that all three groups have this effect on me.

Luckily, I’m a stealth writer and a hell of a worker despite my draw to the Almighty Shiny, if you don’t mind me stroking my own ego for a moment. Despite my chitty-chatting, I manage a hefty wordcount each day, an entertaining (to me, anyway) blog and email after email after email (some query letters or responses to responses to query letters, some replies to people who’ve seen my site or my blog and have comments or questions, some random notes of squishiness to my husband). But, as of late, I find myself wandering in and out of my writing groups like a ghost wading through a foggy, empty dream.

I think I’m outgrowing them.

Sure, all three groups (moreso two of them) have a lot to offer little fledgling writers and a lot to offer writers who are on the self-promotion bandwagon, but in my current existence as writer-with-a-few-books-but-as-of-yet-unagented-and-unpublished they leave a bit to be desired (but for the socializing that most writers crave). What I really need out of a group, I’m not getting and, as I’m fairly sure I need nothing more right now than to write…I can’t get it from them. (Confused yet?) Last night I was wandering the internet and came across this article. It struck a chord with me, but it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.

Will I leave my writing groups? Meh. Probably not. I don’t really know. Besides, at least two of them I’ll need down the road when I’m face to face with publication. Will I join another writers group? Doubtful. Not that such groups aren’t an excellent way to hang out with other writers and learn all you can about the publishing world. I’m just in between newbie-writer and published-writer (well, apart from my short stories…by the way, a book review of mine has posted at Descending Darkness). I’ve met some incredible people online and will probably continue to hang around a bit, popping in now and again to see if there’s something there worth reading, but as far as the socialization of it all, I’m going to let some cobwebs collect on my time in these groups.

Maybe that’ll make them less shiny.

2 Responses to "On Becoming a Ghost"

  1. Keith Cronin

    Interesting post – I can relate. I hit a point a couple months ago when I realized that for all the time and effort I put into online writer’s groups, I had little to show for it. I mean, *I* knew where to find all my own Posts Of Staggering Genius, but it became clear that to other people they were either less memorable than I hoped, or simply not noticed at all.

    That’s what drove me to start a blog. First, to start a more lasting, focused collection of my writing than a couple thousand posts scattered across some writer’s forums. And it also sometimes serves to distract me from my inclination to spar with people in writer’s groups with whom I have idealogical differences. My constant arguments with one ultra-conservative guy were actually a MAJOR part of my decision to start blogging: I wanted to channel that energy elsewhere. Maybe I should thank him – I see he just started blogging, too!

    Blogs – the new therapy?

    Anyway, I wonder if you’ve really outgrown the groups, or simply your need to socialize so frequently with them? I know sometimes my travels will take me away from my beloved forums for a few days, and when I get home I cannot WAIT to log on. But an hour of hungrily reviewing everything I missed often reveals that I really didn’t miss much at all!

    At any rate, I’ve been enjoying your blog (wow – I think maybe I’m your “fan from Florida”) – it’s cool to see you focus your thoughts and explore them. I really don’t read a lot of blogs, but have read yours pretty much daily, because I’m enjoying the side of you that they reveal.

    Good luck in your online explorations, and in your forum haunting!

  2. Heather Brewer

    I think you’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head with that one–it’s mostly the socialization, but with two of the groups, I honestly feel a bit beyond them, which tends to happen with writers groups once you reach that no-longer-a-newbie status. (Giving advice is great, but when you’re no longer getting anything out of the group but oohs and aahs of newbies…) I’m thinking the key might be to focus on one group (there’s no question there which group I’ll focus on) and continue this fabulous dive into my writing (which is really what it’s all about).

    I’m truly touched that you’re reading my blog reguarly, Keith, and would love to exchange links with you, if you’re interested. *s* Let me know!

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