Sharing Work


I had a bath before noon. That means it’s not a writing day – but I’m still working on my book… I’m going to my new writing group.

One of the great things about teaching is that you tend to grow your own friends. This group is, at its core, an extraordinarily good workshop class I taught a few years ago. Since I’m really having to stretch myself with this narrative voice, I’m eager to get ongoing feedback…the kind I can’t get from colleagues or my wonderful agent. So, I’m joining the group…taking advantage of the skills I helped them to learn.

Showing your work is always a bit frightening. What if you’ve fooled yourself, and it’s completely pants? So it’s good to work with people you trust. That trust is only built up over time…you can only tell if you can work with people once you’ve worked with them. The most important thing, I think, is finding people with whom you can communicate well. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing the same kind of thing, but it matters that you can understand each other and understand what each writer is trying to do.

You need to be fairly certain what you ARE trying to do, in the cut and thrust of workshopping. You have to be ready to learn whose advice is sound on what kinds of issues. You have to be prepared to continually evaluate what people say, and what you feel.

But the sense of camaraderie, the great relief of having someone to talk to about your daily work, the opportunity to have other people helping you with craft ideas…well, that’s such a great relief and benefit that I can’t wait to see them today.

I’d better go and dress.


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