Writing groups and writing buddies are among the most powerful incentives to keep writing and to find inspiration for new stories. I've belonged to many writing groups over the last dozen years, some short-lived, and others have endured for years. I've never left a group meeting without inspiration for dozens of stories, and a warm satisfied feeling from listening to the stories other members read, and some of my dearest friends have come from writing circles.
Right now I'm attending the Story Circle Network Conference in Austin, and finding a tremendous inspiration and guidance from the presenters in the sessions, and from talking to other members who are writing their own stories. Not surprisingly, each approaches writing in her own way. Some are just beginning, and experimenting with various forms and types of topics. Others have been writing for years. Some write daily, others when they have a Story Circle (writing group) meeting, and a few are feeling stalled out, hoping to find energy and inspiration from the conference to help move them forward.
Perhaps our greatest inspiration will prove to be the moving message from Nancy Aronie tonight as she encouraged us to get in touch with our sorrows, and the way we "see life through the prism of our wounds." This sort of deepened insight will empower us to become alchemists, spinning our sorrows (she uses a different "s" word in speaking) into gold, on paper and in the way we experience life.
Susan Albert's session on the importance of emphasizing place in our stories was a powerful nudge to me to explore this aspect more deeply in my own writing. Who knows what additional riches await in the rest of the sessions?
If you want further information on finding or starting a writer's group in your area, check The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing. If you want to attend an inspiring conference, do an Internet search for writer's conferences. There are dozens of them every month, in all price ranges, all over the country.
Write now: about the power groups have had in your life, about pain and sorrow, or about transcending pain and grief to create gold in your life.
Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal
Writing groups are powerful, and writing conferences even more so.