Once, just once, I went to a writers club. I realised that if you want to be a ‘real’ published author you need to be focused, dedicated, sacrifice, keep a steady eye on the target.
I thought perhaps this focus would be easier found in a group. I imagined this eclectic bunch of people, meeting in beatnik locations, drinking green tea and debating semi colons and metaphor.
The internet told me there was a writers circle at the library (how fitting) down the road from my house.
I carefully constructed a short story and even edited it out and copied it a few times to take along.
It was with some trepidation I went to meet the group. They were both more and less than I had imagined in my head. Run by a very friendly young man, who gave me a printed (self published I suppose) beautifully professionally bound book of short stories done as a collective by the group. Apparently they give one complimentary to all new members.
The intense young man was accompanied among others by a bearded Terry Pratchett character (sans hat) and a housewife who clearly had a lot of time to write, along with a random scattering of people who definitely came from all walks of life.
The thing is, when it came to discussing work, the Terry Prachett character, intense young man and frustrated housewife hauled out actual scripts to discuss. With full plot, chapter, in depth character analysis.
I felt completely out my comfort zone, me with my casual blog postings and the flippant Bridget Jones style writing I was doing. (Even though I had tried for a more dramatic short story that day.)
‘Your issue,’ said Terry Pratchett guy,’is your blogging. It’s like turning on a tap and letting it drip. All your creative juices are dripping away. You need to be more focused.’
I’m sure he’s right. Focus is something I’m seriously lacking in general, unless given an actual incentive, good or bad. Like a penalty for not completing. Or a huge book advance (yeah right). Something that has consequences and also makes the actual production of work a priority rather than a luxury.
Needless to say I did not return to the writers group although I meant to.
I still feel guilty I got a free book out of it as a consequence.