Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Call for writers in inner Southeast Portland

My old writing group from the '90s 
Jack (on the right) passed in 2002

Every craftsman, regardless of medium, has the responsibility to continue to improve his skills.  It is a charge conferred by his brethren, past, present, and future, in furtherance of the craftsman's chosen pursuit.

With that in mind, I'm making a call to other writers.

I'm looking for two to three writers willing to meet once per week somewhere in inner Southeast Portland to critique, edit, and comment on one another's writing.

There is a writing group format that I've used in the past with some success.  It works like this: 
  • The group is composed of 3 or 4 writers. 
  • Each writer reads, without introduction or preamble, a piece he has written.  The reading should take no more than 10 minutes, so larger pieces should be broken into episodes. The other writers listen, without taking notes.
  • The writer reads his piece a second time.  The other writers listen again, but this time take notes.
  • Upon completion of the second reading, each of the listeners, in turn, gives feedback to the writer.
  • Rotate to the next writer and repeat.
With four writers, the meeting is wrapped up in 2 hours.

In my experience, there are several pitfalls to avoid with writing groups:
  • Leave the ego at the door.  
    • If a writer is prone to getting his feelings hurt when others offer criticism, the group will not succeed.  (Of course, it is incumbent on the reviewers to be fair, and to provide praise as well as criticism.)
    • The purpose of the group is to improve one's writing. It is not ego gratification or validation.
  • Avoid conversations that distract from the focus of the group until after each writer has had his work reviewed.
  • Each participating writer must bring something to read.  
  • Each participating writer must make the weekly commitment. 
In summary, for the group to succeed participating writers should be thick-skinned when it comes to their work, fairly prolific, and invested with a sense of responsibility toward the other writers.  We work together to hone our individual skills.

Although in this age of electronic communication, the stipulation that participants actually physically meet might seem an anachronism, I still believe that face-to-face communication and discussion is most effective for these kinds of exchanges.

So, I'm sending out a call.  Anyone out there interested?


Ridwan said...

Dade I wish I was closer my friend.

(Now if I can just really quit my job and make it to PDX ;)



Andrea said...

Where and what time?