You don’t have to be a great writer to run a writers group; you just have to be willing to run a writers group.
I suppose this is why people sign up for those fitness boot camps: To have somebody crack the whip.
I just joined a Writer’s critique group last night for that very reason. My first ever. I was a little surprised to find out that most of the members belonged to more than one. I wondered if it was possible to get addicted to these groups the way Jack did with his multiple support groups in Fight Club. I joined the group to get some much-needed brutally honest feedback on my writing, so I couldn’t fathom getting addicted to that kind of punishment on more than a biweekly basis. But after sitting through last night’s meeting, I’m beginning to realize it’s more than just voluntary pain and suffering. It’s fun!
Apart from me, there were four women and one man. Tracy the hostess (not her real name) is writing a YA fantasy. Pablo (also not his real name) likes to write sci-fi. Nina (you guessed it, I’m changing all their names to protect the innocent) is into cyberpunk and Kim is… well, I never learned what Kim is into, but I was so impressed with her reviewer comments that I’m sure whatever she writes will be amazing. Leah just started last night, like me, but she already belonged to another group that helped her on a short story already under review. Everybody seemed seriously into their craft and very willing to offer up constructive criticism.
I didn’t post anything for them to review; mainly I just wanted to see what the group was like and if I felt it would be a good fit for me. I think it will be. I have no doubt that they will motivate me to post pages in two weeks when we meet again, and if I don’t, I hope they kick my butt. Aside from the obvious external accountability a group like this offers, it also offers something else I haven’t had yet: Readers. Finally, I have somebody I am writing to. And that’s reason enough to whip myself into shape.