A Pipe-less Pipe Dream

Writing is hard for a lot of reasons, and most of those reasons aren't what non-writers think.  It's not hard coming up with ideas.  It's not hard learning how to write well.  Ideas are overrated, and if you can't figure out how to write a decent sentence, well, you've got bigger problems than writing a book.  Writing is hard because of the time it takes and because, for most aspiring writers, they're working in the dark, groping blindly for any chance to find their audience, earn a little money in the process.

This is where a good writer's group can be helpful.  While not all groups are created equal, there's something comforting about meeting with a group of folks who are all trying for the same dream.  It stops being weird.  It starts seeming more plausible, stops being a pipe dream.  Even if you're surrounded by nothing but aspiring writers, it still seems like something worth doing.

In my experience, most writers are scared of writer's groups.  I know I was.  They picture a room full of pipe-smoking mustachioed gents discussing metaphor and theme and other dry and dull topics.  And I'm sure those groups exist.  But there are also groups dedicated to making writing easier, to taking what is otherwise a lonely aspiration and making it appear not so mysterious.

Not everyone likes that.  Some people want writing to be mysterious.  They like it to be some magical artistic gift from the heavens and to wallow happily in their genius while dismissing the rest.  They look at other writers as competition, not support.  They love the idea of being a writer for what it says about them, not for what they have to say.

Real writers write.  Real writers always want to learn how to write better.  And a good writer's group can help us do that.  If you want to write and you have the time, check one or two out.  I know my group has been a tremendous support, even now as I make a living doing this.  And I'm certain they're plenty of groups out there ready to help aspiring and established writers get better.

Writing is lonely.  Don't make it lonelier just because you're frightened of men with pipes.

-- A. Lee Martinez, DFWWW Member since 1995

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