Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Writing Groups: Good or Bad?

There are a lot of Writing Groups out there and some people swear by them. Personally, I'm against them. I am going to explain why.

First of all, let me say at the outset that I do belong to some Writing Groups but I use them for the specific purpose to socialize and network, not to help me with my writing. The only people that I want helping me with my writing are Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Robert Heinlein, and any other writers who have sold millions of books.

If a Writing Group is not made up of bestselling authors, I don't want to be advised on my writing by anyone in it. I can make friends with the writers in it and we can have fun and brainstorm for new ideas on how to market our books. But that would be the extent of our relationship.

There is a reason for this and the following is a fact: Critical remarks tend to affect most people in the same way. The way they affect most people is by slowing them down. In other words, they start to spend less time writing. When these critical remarks accumulate over time they can have the effect of stopping the writer (or you could apply this to any other artist) from writing anything further.

I'm not saying that the people making the critical remarks are bad intentioned people (although there may be a few of those in any writing group). I'm just saying that the effect of critical remarks is to slow artists down and blunt their purpose and will eventually stop them from pursuing their dreams.

You may well ask why this is so. The reason is that a critical remark is almost NEVER 100% correct and true. If it were 100% true it would be helpful because the truth is always helpful. Anything less than 100% truth to that degree becomes an untruth, which if accepted by the writer receiving it tends to stick him in his tracks, precisely for the reason that it is an untruth. Untruths are never helpful because they cannot be applied, being essentially (in greater or lesser degree) a lie.

The chance of a critical remark being 100% true is impossibly remote.

I would NEVER solicit critiques from people who have sold less than a million books. Why would you? The chances of them helping you are extremely remote because they are not you and your process for writing is unique. However, the people that have sold a million or more books must have learned a few things. Some of those things might be helpful to you. But even their advice is only advice. You don't have to take it.

For advice on writing read Stephen King's book 'On Writing.' I have a link to it at the right and if you click on it from this blog you will support this blog. There are other books on writing by bestselling authors but Mr. King's is the one I personally like the best.

The above is why I don't believe in attending Writing Groups to help me with my writing. I have only one advice that I give for writers. This is advice that does apply to everyone. You can break every writing rule in the book if you don't violate this rule.

The rule is: DON'T BE BORING.

Until next time, have fun writing and don't be boring.

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