“The Journey”: Illustration depicts a young boy absorbed in watching the scenery from his seat in a railway car for a series of poems by Josephine Preston Peabody entitled “The Little Past.” The poems relate experiences of childhood from a child’s perspective. Published in: “The Little Past : the Journey” by Josephine Preston Peabody, Harper’s magazine, 108:95 (Dec. 1903). 1 painting : oil. Digital file from original. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This morning early, several women met to visit, talk about writing, and to share something with the group that they had written in the last three months. This was our second meeting. Our first meeting was to get to know each other a little bit and to discuss what we hoped to gain from the group. I had some trepidations prior to the original meeting, mostly because I am an introvert and find meetings like this to be difficult, but, to my surprise, the first gathering went very well. Even though none of us had the same type of writing goal in mind – our interests ran from children’s books to non-fiction to public speaking to mysteries to daily devotionals – we hit it off so well together that we decided to give the writing group idea a try. Before the meeting ended that morning, we gave ourselves an assignment in reading and writing, and set a date to gather together again.
As the weeks passed and the date to meet drew closer, I got my assignments done, which was a great feeling, but then I began to fret about the meeting. “Will the other people actually show up?” ” Why would anyone want to read my stuff?” “Isn’t it kind of odd that writers, who work alone, should even get together?”, etc. (For you extroverts, these kinds of statements are pretty typical examples of introvert self-talk.) Ultimately, I knew I could depend on one other person being there, and figured that if only she came, we could still have a great morning, and I tried to put my insecure-introvert feelings aside.
Of course, all the mental pacing was for naught – everyone showed up, people graciously read each other’s work, and the critiquing was kind and valuable. I shouldn’t have worried, and I now know why: even at our first meeting, when we realized none of us was going to be writing in the same genre, we had a great time being together, sharing stories, encouraging one another as people first, writers second. We are a diverse group in age and experience, but because of that there is a lot of wisdom from which to draw. Our prespectives, strengths and weaknesses were mixed, balanced and blended as we shared our stories of meeting the demands of daily life, and the challenges of the writing life.
We plan to meet again next quarter, and as our level of trust and sharing grows, I believe our writing skills will be enhanced, too. Even though writing is a solitary, introvert-ish endeavor, I am beginning to learn the great blessings that comes from a writing group. Who knew?