I have gone against my own grain a lot lately, it seems. I’ve started bowling. I took time off from work. I started telling real-life people (oh, you know what I mean) about my books. I’ve even joined another writing group.
I’m not even sure I used to talk about the writing group I was a part of a while back, but I’ll give a brief overview from what I remember.
I found this group on Meetup.com and I spent a few weeks going back and forth on whether I should actually join the group. At the time I hadn’t yet published SL&T and I was afraid of being the only person there who wouldn’t be published. I was afraid I would be the only one to view Indie Publishing as valid. I was afraid of sounding stupid. I was afraid of not being as well-read as everyone else.
I was afraid of a lot.
I convinced my husband to hang around in case I needed to run. (No, I’m not joking. The social anxiety is real.) They met at a bar/restaurant that is no longer in business. It was a bit too loud for me. There was too much going on, and I was so far out of my element I couldn’t even see my element anymore.
They went around the room, of course, and asked for introductions and I choked out something about how I was on revision seven-million and forty-two, which got a lot of laughs. I eased. A little.
And I went back for the second meeting. It was at that meeting they asked for people to consider paying dues in order to keep the Meetup.com thing going and to help pay for the materials they brought each week. (Each presenter would bring worksheets they created, educational materials, etc. etc.)
I can’t remember how many meetings occurred between the time I paid my membership dues and the time I decided I was sorta, kinda…done…but it wasn’t many. I never really spoke much. I think I read one or two of my writing prompts we did. Mostly, though, I sat in the back, sipped my tea, and soaked in the knowledge from the presenters—who, I should add, consisted of four different people, two I barely remember, one who was a traditionally published author, and the other a marketing professional who was finishing up her manuscript and getting ready to seek traditional publication. She got it, by the way…suffice it to say, I was ecstatic about the knowledge in the room.
But…c’mon, you knew there was a but coming…then there was the meeting that killed my warm, fuzzy feelings.
They announced a traditional vs. self-publishing pros/cons type meeting. I was skeptical, but excited.
I don’t want to say the traditionally-published author was rude to the self-published author they had invited. I really, really don’t want to. It certainly felt that way to me, regardless if that had been his intention. I don’t suspect he thought she’d be so incredibly articulate, nor that she would make such valid arguments for going the indie route.
The whole thing made me feel very awkward. I cannot imagine how it made the invited indie feel. She did great, though. And while I had already decided that was the route I wanted to go, I had looked forward to gaining knowledge and insight from the pitching process and all the trad-published guy had to say. (Which was basically: I’ll take getting an advance for my book and plopping myself on a beach any day. That was about all I learned about the trad-world that night.)
That was my last meeting with that group. I kept my affiliation with the FaBo group, for reasons, but I never attended another meeting. And there weren’t more anyway, as the group quickly fizzled out (mind you, they’d been going strong for years before that) and that was pretty much that.
I’m giving it another go, though! It’s time to once again play with others. New group, [mostly] new faces, new ideas, new leader. No dues, as of yet anyway, but I’d consider paying again if this incarnation is more accepting of indie publishing. And maybe even if they’re not.
Our first meeting was so much freaking fun! I was a nervous wreck again, but not as much as before. I’ve published two novels now, so I’m at least not a total newbie to the indie-publishing process. I knew I’d have something to contribute to the group in that aspect, a far cry from how I felt the first go-round. I legitimately have hope this will be good for me. We’re going to meet twice per month, every other Monday. The first Monday of the month will be more of a free-for-all type meeting, with discussions, and guided topics, workshops, etc. The second Monday will consist of critique groups.
You know, not far from your typical writing group.
So, what am I afraid of this time? I’m leaps and bounds more knowledgeable than I was the last time, though I will always have a lot to learn. I’ve got more confidence in my writing than I had. I’m certain that while I may not be the most talented in the group, I won’t be laughed out of it either…so, what’s rattling my cage this time?
Not a damn thing.
Briefly I was afraid I’d cut loose if they started trashing the indie publishing world, just as I did last time. But, this time? I think I’ve gained enough confidence in myself, and the indie world as a whole, that I will be able to smile through it and do my best to prove them wrong. Sometimes that’ll be a tall order, because as we all know, there’s a lot of…we’ll call it examples to the contrary out there. But, if we all run away, how will we ever prove our point? So, of course I’m lying. Of course I’m afraid of all of that. But, I’m not lying when I say I’ll stick it out. I will attempt to be a champion-voice for indie publishing.
I’m going to submit the first two chapters of Alabama Rain to the critique group. I’ll see how it goes. Tell me, have you been a member of a writing group outside the interwebs? What have your experiences been like? Any ideas you’d like to share from your writing groups that I might pass along to this one? We’ve only had one meeting and we’re still brainstorming ideas for what we want to do. I’d love, love, love to hear from you!
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All right, my wonderfully talented, amazing, sweet-as-pie friends (and you snarky, little-bit-of-devil-in-you friends, too), that’s it for this week. Enjoy your weekend, enjoy your words, and take the time to enjoy someone else’s, too. ❤