The Arlington Writers Group

I mentioned my Wednesday night writer’s group in the previous post, so I thought I should discuss that briefly.  Tonight will be the 6th meeting I’ve attended of the Arlington Writers Group and the group will be critiquing a story of mine called “In the Cloud”.

I discovered this group through another writing colleague, Larry Hodges.  There are well over 200 members of the group, but there appears to be 30 or 40 active regular attendees.  The group meets weekly at a high school in Arlington, Virginia.  Each meeting lasts about 2 hours.  Every other week is a critique week.  Stories are submitted into the queue and selected for critique at the next available meeting.  On alternating weeks, there is usually some kind of discussion or planned activity.  For example, last week’s meeting centered around a discussion on NaNoWriMo.

I’ve been part of several groups over the year.  I am a member of the Young Gunns, for instance, a group of writers who have completed James Gunn‘s online workshop on fiction writing.  From this group, I found a couple of fellow writers who act as my “first readers” for most of my stories.  But this group is entirely online and while I trust the opinions of my “first readers”, I have never met them in person.  We interact entirely online.

The Arlington Writers Group is nice because our meetings are in person.  Writing is a lonely business (other writers will understand this, but non-writers might not).  What it comes down to is you and a blank screen, and no matter how good your idea, it’s up to you to execute it.  It’s nice to come to a group each week where you can discuss the mechanics and challenges of writing with people who know every well what you are going through.

Several of the regulars in the group are published authors, and some of them write full-time for a living.  Others are beginners just starting out.  It’s a good fit for me because I fall somewhere in between.  There is a great mix of stuff to read, from all forms and genres of fiction, to personal essays, to non-fiction.  I get to read and critique stories several times a month and this is helpful in learning to look at your own work critically.  In a way, it gives you an abbreviated eye into the life of a slush reader and you get a very broad range of stuff to consider and think about.

The members of the group all seem dedicated and fun.  I’m glad I found it.

If there is anyone out there interested in the group, learn more about it here.