Updated: May 1
Writing can get lonely. You need friends, community, others who understand what you're going through. It makes sense to look for... other writers, a writing group. But I've often had difficulty with the way they're structured.
Typically, writing groups bring writers together to share their work and offer peer critiques. This hasn't worked well for me for two reasons.
1. I find it hard to commit to reading and commenting on someone else's work when my focus is really on my own writing.
2. I'm not 100 percent convinced peer critiques are useful.
That's not to say I haven't gotten some very helpful feedback from other writers. This is more about what I feel I can offer. Does another writer really need to hear what I, personally, have to say about a piece? I'm not sure. I feel like it's more important how the writer judges his or her own work.
Unfortunately, my reactions to typical writing groups have left me mostly on my own.
A few years ago I unexpectedly found my tribe... in improv! When I got involved in improv, I found common ground with people who love to create. Improv doesn't involve actual writing, but there are surprising similarities. There's a focus on developing storylines in the moment, making actions and choices on stage make sense. It's also intensely collaborative. So it goes beyond talking about creating. We're a group of people creating together.
Improv may not be your thing. But the point is, you can look beyond traditional writing groups to find community. Look for creative, like-minded people. Whether they put words on paper or not, they may just be your tribe.