Sometimes it can be a struggle to write honestly. Yet that is often where truth and passion lie. Rebecca McClanahan, author of Word Painting, addresses this broad topic and offers solutions and exercises in her newest work, Write Your Heart Out (Walking Stick Press).
The following are her suggestions about joining or starting a writer's response group to receive valuable feedback and perspective on your writing:
- Choose writers who are as committed as you are, not only to writing but also to the group. You need to be able to count on members to show up, be prepared to discuss your work and take their writing at least as seriously as you take it.
- Agree in advance on how the group will function. Set up rules and procedures, if necessary, to ensure that everyone's needs are met.
- Don't apologize for your work. If it has problems (most work does), the group will probably let you know. And if you know in advance that the work warrants an apology, maybe it isn't yet ready to be shared. Use the group's time for work you really care about and have spent time preparing.
- Don't explain your work before you share it. If you do, you won't know if the group is responding to the work itself or to your explanation of the work. Remember, if the piece is submitted for publication, you won't be there to explain it to the editor. The work must stand alone.
Whether you write to get published or just for yourself, Write Your Heart Out can help you move from writing well enough to writing better. McClanahan has a straightforward voice that teaches and offers an experienced slant on things, from writing techniques to reflecting on your life.
Learn more about Write Your Heart Out ($17.99).