I’ve belonged to a writers’ group for years now. Before Scribes, I wrote as a hobby, but when I wanted to get better at it, I sought out other writers who listened to my short stories and gave me feedback. Most of us were beginners back then, but thankfully, we had a few members who knew what they were doing. They’re the writers who taught me to use active verbs instead of passive, to use specific word choice to bring scenes to life and create mood. They taught me the basics, and they encouraged me.
When I decided that I wanted to write a novel, I fumbled through several failed attempts before I finally bought how-to books and learned more about plotting and pacing, but it was my fellow writers who told me that repetition of any kind kills tension, and that tension is what drives a story. I tried lots of different ways to try to make middles move instead of sag, and they shared what worked for them until I cobbled things together to find what worked for me. And while they critiqued and encouraged, I did my best to return the favor. Eventually, in my opinion, we all turned into pretty decent writers, but now we face different challenges. For many of my friends, time has become more and more precious. We worked so hard to learn our craft, we never imagined that we’d learn it and then we wouldn’t have enough time to make it happen. The older we get, it seems, the busier we become. We thought when our kids were little, when we had to write between cooking and cleaning and running kids here and there, that life would slow down once the kids got older or once they moved out on their own. Not so.
Some of my friends’ husbands have retired, and their husbands demand more time, attention. They travel more. They DO more. Some have been promoted so that their jobs are more demanding. Some help care for grandkids. They volunteer and meet friends more often. They have more family obligations–aging parents, kids who come for suppers. The list can go on and on. I listen to new and old members of our writers’ group, and I realize that if you want to write, you have to MAKE the time to do it. No matter what age you are or what stage you’re at in life, you have to make writing a priority, or it won’t happen. At first, it bothered me when someone joined Scribes and showed lots of potential, and then their writing got lost in the shuffle. But now I know that’s a possibility. So is getting discouraged. I’ve watched writers finish books, send them out, and wither under all of the rejections. Or they sell, but don’t make enough money to keep them motivated. It’s no easy feat to keep a dream alive. Success often comes one step at a time, and people can falter before they reach their goals. But if they’re lured away by a new love, a new passion, who’s to say that’s bad? So whatever calls to you, good luck with it, and enjoy.
P.S. If you’re interested, I posted a quick, round table discussion between the characters of my Wolf’s Bane novels on my webpage. It’s VERY short. http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/round-table-discussion.html