I just realised it’s been a full year since I joined my writers group, time for me to acknowledge this wonderful group of people and all they have done for me!
While the group may be small (less than ten members), we make up for it in passion. Ellenbrook Writers Group, also known as The Cult, plays host to both a queen and a princess, someone to rule the land and someone to sweeten the time spent there. We even have our very own Electro-Jesus to fix all IT related emergencies, and as writers, there are a lot of those! We’re a wacky bunch, and sometimes the conversations border on illegal, but this writing family has taught me more about the art of words than I even knew there was to learn.
Now, I’m going to be brutally honest. When I searched for a writers group to get involved with, I was expecting to find pockets of wannabe writers who weren’t entirely sure how to punctuate a sentence. I guess I made the ridiculous assumption that writers of a higher calibre would have no use for a critique group. I’m sorry fellow Cultists, it’s true. But now I want the world to know I was wrong.
The great thing about writers, is they like to help each other. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been writing for two months or twenty years, there is always something to be learnt from a fresh pair of eyes on your work. Allowing someone to read your manuscript and give a fresh opinion is invaluable, if that person happens to be a writer, they will notice things no one else can see. The placement of a comma, the repetition of a word, the inconsistent behaviour of a character and how many dots your ellipses have. Those critiques will blow your mind, making you see both the silly mistakes and the complex ones.
Some of those mistakes you will make time and again, because you’re so used to making them, you think they’re right. These are the things that need to be trained out of you. Let’s face it, an average, read-for-pleasure person, isn’t going to invest the time it takes to snap you out of those habits. But a bunch of writers sitting in a room together will pick those flaws apart, meeting after meeting, until eventually the mistakes don’t need to be edited out, you stop making them altogether! I truly believe I’m ten times the writer I was before I met these people, and I still have so far to go. This blog is just a short appreciation post for the group who inspire and challenge me, their lessons working through the critiques and submissions they share, and the discussions we have around that table.
Here’s to the Cultists, not amateurs but successfully-published, editing-extraordinaire writers. Thank you to the Queen, for bringing this group together, her exceptional punctuation skills and zazz for rational thinking. The princess for being pretty much the cutest person you’ll ever meet, and delving deep into the psychology of every story, telling you things about yourself you didn’t even know. Electro-Jesus for the electro-jesusing, and the creepy but useful knowledge of all things violent. Bec who can spot repetitions from a mile away, and is always searching for ways it could sound better, she pushes you to your limit but never makes you feel like a fool. The Duchess of Cats, who sees the good in everything and is packed full of encouragement. And the lovely Lisa, who always pushes for better descriptions, teaching us how to show rather than tell our readers.
All of you do an amazing job, both teaching and learning, and just being a great bunch of friends! To our newest members, I look forward to sharing the stage with you!