I belong to a fabulous writers’ group… The Summit City Scribes of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Yesterday…we’ll look past he whole I had to read my chapter… we had a visitor to our group. This happens. People come, some stay and some don’t. However, this visitor asked interesting questions, questions that lurked in my mind long after the meeting had ended.
Why were we there? What did we get out of the group? What did we want…were we there to get published and make money?
Our visitor said that she writes for herself and doesn’t care if anyone else reads it (then she asked how to publish her words, so maybe she does want people to read them?). People have read her work and made comments, but this author didn’t see the point in those comments, since it meant she had to justify what she wrote. So why do we meet twice a month and read our work? Why are we there?
I have to admit, my immediate reaction was not all smiles and giggles. Why should I justify my choices? So I stewed in my juices, keeping my opinions to myself.
Maybe I didn’t feel as if anything I had to say would matter. From what she said and how she said it, I figured she knew what she wanted, but didn’t know how to get there. Maybe she hoped we could put her on the right path. I’m not sure. And when I’m not sure, I stay out of it. Or maybe…
But it got me thinking. Why do I attend meetings? What do I what? Why am I here?
First and foremost…to improve my craft. To receive comments in order to spark my writer’s brain into making every word count, every scene sing, and make sure every story takes the reader on a fantastic journey. My writers’ group does this. We focus on writing.
But I am not there to justify what I wrote. If my story doesn’t make sense to a reader that’s my fault and I need to fix it.
We do talk about publishing. Our group has writers in all genres, all categories, from self-pubbed to agented to working with small presses. We do talk about marketing, though this is not our strength.
How do we get our words into the hands of the readers?
Do I want people to read my words?
Darn tootin’ I do. I would even like a few people to enjoy what I write.
Do I want fame and fortune?
No. Wanting that could drive a person insane.
Why am I here?
I have stories to tell. I want to introduce to people to the worlds that exist only in my mind. I go to critique group, I ask people for comments so I can do this to the best of my ability.
That is all.
It works for me. I do think that it will work for most everyone. Writing, a task you do by yourself, but can’t finish alone. However, I accept that it might not be the path everyone chooses, that for some what others think has no place in what they write, that they truly write for themselves. Maybe self-pubbing those words is just the final step in their process.
And either way, we never need to justify our decisions. We just need to be happy with them.