Searching for writing groups or critique circles in Harrisonburg did not prove successful, as I did not find much. Or anything, actually.
In a town with two universities (James Madison University and Eastern Mennonite University) within minutes of one another, I got to thinking: There have to be some writers out there. JMU has creative writing/play writing/script writing/screenplay courses, for crying out loud.
Because of the serious drought of writing groups, I have decided to create my own. I talked to some folks, made some flyers, and on Tuesday, September 8th at 7:30 PM, Shenandoah Writers will hold its inaugural meeting at Barnes & Noble (Harrisonburg Crossing).
I’m new to this whole thing, but I plan to treat this as a critique group/writing workshop. Depending on the number of attendees and the interests of those attendees, I envision us meeting semi-monthly.
One meeting will be a full-on critique session of someone’s work (be it part of a manuscript, a short story, a query letter, a magazine article, etc.). In the other meeting, we will read and discuss writing books; do exercises in said books; generate writing ideas; laugh, cry, and bitch at how wonderful and horrible being a writer is, etc.
Depending on the climate of the group, we could also dedicate certain months to certain types of writing or genres as well. I would even like to see us attend writing conferences or, perhaps, persuade some speakers to come see us.
As I’m writing this, I’m getting more and more ideas…and I love it! So many possibilities.
Last night, I dreamt about the first meeting (nerdbomber!). In the dream, there were actually more people than I could handle, and I had to figure out how to split it into groups. I seriously don’t think I will have this problem initially, so calm down, subconscious. I’d settle for somewhere between 4-6 individuals who are as serious and passionate about writing as I am. Hell, with this first meeting, I’d be happy if two people showed up!
If anyone out there has ever started anything like this before or belonged to a group such as this, let me know. Whatever pointers you can give would be greatly appreciated. I want this thing to be the bomb diggity, and I’m looking for any advice I can get.
Additionally, I would also be interested in doing something like this remotely – say, via the Web. If anyone not within driving distance is wants to chat me up about that, shoot me an e-mail: email@example.com.
Having a group like this, bouncing ideas off others, getting feedback/criticism/support from writers is integral to good writing…and it may just help my sanity a bit.
So, if you are in H-burg on Tuesday, stop on by Barnes & Noble and help me take over the city. I’ll be at B&N’s fake Starbucks.