The Writers Group

I’ve gotten some questions about writing groups. Ah the writers group, the place where you go and expect to meet like-minded people who are sane and passionate, honest and thoughtful. Many, if not all, know this is not true.
My very first writing group was here in L.A. I had scoured the internet for a free, local writing group and found just down the street. I went every week and shared my writing and learned about what others were doing. The range of writing experience was vast, varying from people with very little skill to people who had produced shorts and indie films.
One night, so many writers showed up that we had to put names in a hat. The moderator picked a few and then it happened. A woman started crying. Everyone stopped and stared as she spouted off about how ‘it’s not fair’ and she’s been ‘coming longer’ than some. She ended up leaving that night, sobbing on the phone as she left “they didn’t pick my script, Daddy.”
The night rolls on and we are reading a new draft of a very good script, however, the author has decided he’s George Lucas and writes pages of scrolling words on the screen. A couple people remark that the audience will not only not be able to read all that but will quickly lose interest. The guy starts being snarky and downright rude and my friend, Bob, calmly tells him “if you don’t want the truth, then why come?” Then the writer flips his chair and we adjourn for the night. Insanity!
Second writing group, a few of the writers that passed the Rorschach Test from the old group split off to form a new one. It was about ten sane people who were committed to writing. The group started out great. We showed up, we were honest, we led each other to grow as writers. Then the numbers started to dwindle. People got night jobs, we’re working on projects with other people. It fell apart when Bob moved to Vermont. Bye Bob, bye writing group.
Third group: I meet this cool lady at a writers social group. She’s looking for a group. I’m looking for a group. She has a connection to a private room for free with free parking. Sweet! A free room with free parking in L.A. is like winning the lottery. I set up the meetup and then crickets. I don’t hear back from this cool lady with connections. She blew off the meeting we set up to make rules and such. And when the first meeting comes, she shows up ten minutes late (which is like ten minutes early in L.A.) and then leaves ten minutes later. To make a long, painful story short, she never came again and the free room was rarely available. I cancelled the group last month.
So I guess the moral of the story is make connections, try new things and new groups but do whatever you have to in order to grow your craft without becoming the crazy person in the room. Good luck and stay sane.


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