It looks as if I might have outgrown my writing group. :( It's bittersweet but I think I have been wondering this for the past few months and am finally beginning to see it as a reality. Reality sucks.
It's not that I don't still enjoy it. But I realized today that I have been in this group for two years. I grew a lot as a writer during that period, met some fabulous people who taught me a lot as well. But like everything else in life people change. The group has changed, several people have moved on, attendance is down. Lots of things lurking on the surface that are making the expereince less and less enjoyable and useful.
We had a meeting on Sunday to discuss some issues and look at how we can restructure the group. Sadly I think I am at a point where I need a group that is more productive and rigorous, with more demands for producing work. One published author i know was a part of a crit group that met once a month but had to bring something to submit every time, could not miss more than two meetings and had to have evidence that they were submitting work. All of them got published. But it's also about networking. There used to be a sense of helping each other out, working together, mentoring the new kids. Now it feels like everyman for himself. No one says, I think you should send this here, or hey so and so would really like this kind of thing. No more, I'll show you the ropes because I think you have potential.
As the blood of the group changes we seem to become more exclusive, for fear that someone will come in and upset the balance. People's writing isn't strong enough, they can't take critiques like professionals...it's te same people so is there group think? I'm not published and sometimes I feel like the outcast. I don't belong to the inner circle. My opinion might not count as much because with what authority to I speak? By some wierd twist of fate I am still the youngest person in the group. I would like to argue that I should get a ten year curve for the generation gap. I wonder sometimes now, if I would have even ben able to get into this group today if I wasn't already a member. I wonder what they would say about my quality of writing, my style, my inexperience. When did the world get so exclusive?
I am not going to abandon ship yet. I will give it another month or two to see how the new changes take. Hopefully I can submit something to the next meeting allthough I would have to have it in by next week according to the new rules. And I still have the online group...
Sometimes Democracy is a Bitch.