23 January 2009

Writing in a Vacuum

As a writer, I sometimes long for input. I have asked a few friends to take a look at my work, and 2 of them have given fair and valuable critique but I really wish I could find more like-minded, aspiring writers. My wife has always resented my writing; she thinks it is a pointless enterprise as it may never generate revenue and what is the point of my life if not to generate revenue? Well, I love my wife more than words can express, and there is no way I'm going to quit my day job for the life of an aspiring writer, so in that sense she is absolutely right. But I still have a story to tell — this story — and wish I could spend time with others like myself who just need to write. I did have one aspiring writer friend — the one you, good reader, are no doubt getting sick of hearing about at this point — but trying to connect with her on this issue lead to the result I discussed in my last entry, so there is no need to rehash that sad tale. I discussed this issue with someone earlier this week, and that person suggested that I would be better served finding a local writers' group to help spur my creative spirit and hopefully replace my muse.

So this day, a lovely warm Friday in the mid-Atlantic region of the nation the Chinese call beautiful, I decided to go to my local library and ask the kind and friendly librarian whether she knew of any amateur writers' groups that meet in this area. Well, we searched meetup.com and The Virginia Writers Club for information, and both look promising but neither quite hits the mark. The main problem with The Virginia Writers Club is that it costs money to join. As someone starting out, I would have to join as an Associate member, and the cost would be, as far as I can tell, $30 (US) per year. There is also a $100 annual level and a $500 lifetime level to join this 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization. All in all, The Virginia Writers Club seems like a nice idea, but I think I'm too early in my development to be thinking so big. However, they do have a meeting in a nearby library so if I did join, it would not be too inconvenient.

This leaves me the meetup option. There were 2 groups of interest on meetup.com, The Washington Area Novel Writers' Critique Group, which meets a bit farther than I'd like to travel for such a group, and the Aspiring Women Novelists Meet-up, which meets at an inconvenient time and, well, the other obvious problem. The Washington Area Novel Writers' Critique Group meets on the weekend, making them time-convenient if not for the fact that I prefer spending my weekend with my wife as I don't get to see her much of the week. None the less, I do like their motto and hope to attend a meeting sometime.

As for the Aspiring Women Novelists Meet-up, it meets at a very inconvenient time: 10:00 in the morning on a weekday, which is no doubt chosen to keep males like me away. I do tend to have unusual hours, so for instance I don't like meetings that take place much after 19:00 since I generally have to get up the next day at 03:00 in the morning. However, what I consider convenient, namely 16:00 weekdays, is generally out of reach for most working professionals. So ironically, had this group chosen 16:00 as a time to avoid working professionals — and were it not for the other, obvious reason I would not be allowed to attend — I might find this group the most convenient of the lot. But, then there is that other problem, since last time I checked, through no fault of my own, I am not a woman. Since I really do want to join a society that is positive-reinforcing and goal-oriented, the Aspiring Women Novelists Meet-up does seem like a perfect match for me, but there's no point lamenting what we can't change so alas, they may be for me, but I am clearly not for them.

Finally, I looked into creating my own positive-reinforcing and goal-oriented, free-membership, locally run, 16:00 on a weekday meetup. Meetup.com wanted money. Since a podcast will likely net me $0 per everything, I don't think I can afford this approach. So there you have it, my options to join with my fellow writers for my ambitious writing project are not great, but they exist. And if that's not good enough, there's always Craig's List...

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