Ok, so last week I wrote about learning the craft of writing. And some of you wrote to say you don’t know where to start.
First off, what I found that really helped was finding some like-minded people. As I said last week, I belong to the Leicester Writers’ Club. I can’t tell you how much it helps. For one thing, just being around other people who write and take their writing very seriously is uplifting. Then there is the novel workshopping. I don’t read all my chapters out for critique. But when I have questions regarding a chapter or passage it really helps to get that critique.
I also can’t tell you how many other tips I’ve gotten along the way from other members. We have the full spectrum of writers/authors in the club from unpublished, self-published, to award-winning and best-selling authors. They each have their own stories to tell and each one has provided me with insights into the publishing world. And they are all willing to share what they know and help people out.
All that being said, is every writing club like that? Unfortunately, from speaking with other writers around the country who have been involved with writers’ clubs, I think we are very lucky here in Leicester. And while sometimes the critiques are not what you want to hear, and some people are better at giving constructive critiques than other, the people in our club are very supportive of each other. There’s a story from before I joined the club that one day a new guy came who wanted to join. At that evening’s manuscript reading, he gave very harsh critiques to everyone who read. Supposedly, the president of the club took him outside afterward and told him not to come back unless he could give his critiques in a constructive manner (he was never seen again).
So find some like-minded people, even if you have to start a group yourself. My only caveat is, if they aren’t supportive, keep looking!