Benefits of Writing Groups #Essay

You may think that writing is a solitary endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. I belong to several writing groups that meet regularly to write, share, and critique our work. Today, I’d like to talk about two of them that have been beneficial to me over the years.

The first is called Third Thursday Poets. This started in 2006 as a nine-week class taught by an instructor who was, herself, a published poet. After the class ended, we agreed to meet once a month, and the instructor offered to continue facilitating our meetings. This went on for about two years until our instructor felt she needed to leave the group. We’ve been meeting monthly ever since and take turns facilitating our meetings.

We usually meet for about two hours. Our facilitator provides a prompt that we write on for about twenty minutes. We then each share what we’ve written. After that, the facilitator gives us another prompt as a homework assignment that we can bring to the next meeting. During the second half of the meeting, we critique each other’s homework assignments. Of course, participants don’t have to follow any of the prompts. We can write poetry about anything we want in any form and share it.

When this group started as a class, my late husband had just been discharged from the nursing home after suffering his first stroke, and I’d started caring for him. Most of the poems I wrote for this group were inspired by my caregiving experiences, and many of them ended up in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. I’ll always be grateful for the feedback I received from participants of this group.

The other group that has been helpful to me over the years is called Explorations in Creative Writing. I discovered it in 2009 when someone mentioned the group in a comment on my blog. This is mostly a fiction critique group, and we’re laid-back and close-knit. We meet once a week via phone conference to critique each other’s work, which we send to our email list before each meeting. Our participants are scattered across the country and are mostly blind or visually impaired.

Although most of this group’s participants write fiction, I felt comfortable submitting an occasional poem for critique. But I got the most help with my memoir, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds and my novel, The Red Dress. I’m working on another novel, with which they’ve also been helpful. I’ll always be thankful for the feedback and support this group has given me.

I belong to other writers’ organizations. But because the two groups I’ve discussed are small, we can be more intimate and provide participants with a better experience.

Thanks to blogger Lynda McKinney Lambert for inspiring this post. How about you? Do you belong to any writing groups? How have they helped you? I look forward to reading your responses, either in the comment field below or on your own blog with a link to this post. Thank you for coming today.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

Thursday Book Feature: Walking by Inner Vision

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.I reviewed this book a couple of years ago when it first came out. Now, it’s available on Audible with a good narrator. I found it well worth the seconcd read.

 

via Thursday Book Feature: Walking by Inner Vision

 

 

Re-Blog: Flamboyant

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.Here’s another delightful poem from Lynda McKinney Lambert. I like the way she compares a bird singing to a performer on stage. Enjoy, and have a great day!

 

Via Flamboyant

 

Note: I’m sorry to say that posting a poem a day here is taking too much of my time, so after today, I’ll only post poetry here once a week on Tuesday. It’s not that National Poetry Month isn’t important to me. It is, but my novel and other activities are just as important, and I’ve found it necessary to create a balance. When there are so many hours in a day, something has to give. Thank you for your support and understanding. I hope you will continue to take time to enjoy some good poetry this month.

 

 

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

Re-Blog: Muddy Hands: A Poem

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.Have you ever done any pottery? If so, this poem should bring back memories. I’d love to read about them, or you can share them on Lynda’s blog. Enjoy!

 

Via Muddy Hands

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

Re-Blog: Ida Matilda’s Cream Pitcher

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.In celebration of National Poetry Month, I’ll try to post a poem a day for the next thirty days. Most poems will be by others, but when I have time, I’ll post one of my own.

Lynda’s delightful poem should bring back pleasant memories of your own grandmother. If it does, please feel free to share them, either here or on Lynda’s blog. Enjoy, and happy National  Poetry Month.

 

Ida Matilda’s Cream Pitcher

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

Thursday Book Feature: Walking by Inner Vision

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems

by Lynda McKinney Lambert

Copyright 2017

 

This collection starts with a prologue in which the author, who is also an artist, describes how knitting sustained her during difficult times after she lost most of her vision in 2007. The poetry and prose that follow are divided into twelve sections, one for each month of the year. Some pieces reflect the time of year while others discuss the author’s faith in God, nature, art, music, and other topics.

My favorite piece is “A Wintry Tale” because it reminds me of many tumbles I took in the snow when I was younger due to my lack of vision.  My second favorite is “A Pennsylvania Christmas” because it brings back memories of my own childhood Christmases, even though I’ve never received coal in my stocking.

I’ve known Lynda for years through our association with Behind Our Eyes, a not-for-profit organization for writers with disabilities. I’ve always been amazed by how, despite her sight loss, her appreciation of art and nature comes through in her vivid descriptions. Even if you have normal vision, this book will open your eyes, ears, and heart to life’s wonders.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Saturday is for Sharing

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.I know it isn’t Saturday, but Pennsylvania author and artist Lynda McKinney Lambert and her cat, Miss Opal, offer a great opportunity for authors. I was featured here, and it brought me some good exposure. Check it out.

via Saturday is for Sharing

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.