In praise of writers’ groups

Night had fallen when the writer emerged from his cave. It was cold and if he’d known how, he’d have shaken himself like a dog does on exiting a lake after a dip. This would shake off the residue and the self-doubt acquired after time spent underground away from the world.

All at once, he realised he wasn’t alone. Other solitary beings emerged from their own confined spaces and converged on the fire-lit meeting place. He made haste, anxious to secure his place amongst his peers. He settled himself in his usual spot as the sheen of newly-galvanised intent emanated from the other faces around the fire. He was ready and open to the possibility of the new.

To write is to take risks. You put in the time; draft, re-draft; edit, re-edit; re-draft, edit, re-edit. Still, it may not be enough, it may not reach the lofty standards you’ve set yourself. The the beginning is not clear enough, the ending not tight enough and the main character lacks an edge. Whatever the case may be, this may very well be the time for a fresh pair of eyes, the time to bring it out of the cave and present it to a forum of your peers.

At Killarney Writers’ Group, we regularly get the opportunity to share our work in progress. You read and feedback is provided – a “critique” of sorts. Some bring copies of the piece to read, others simply set the words free and wait for a response. Every listener has their own way of delivering their opinion but, for me, the beauty is that each view is unique and comes from that trust that has been built up over a period of time. You may not agree with, or adopt, the perspective offered on any given night, but at least you’ve set the work free. Then, you can move on to the next phase of the writing process and retreat from the world once again. So, come out from your cave and come join us around the fire, there’s a seat there with your name on it!

Footnote: Well done to Killarney Writers’ Group member, Sharon Fitzpatrick, who launched her new publishing company yesterday in Killarney! With readings, entertainment and refreshments,  a great afternoon was had by all! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read A Mouthful of Gold at your event, Sharon, and best of luck into the future! TÓL