The End Of A Good Thing

The End Of A Good Thing
Image: Terry Bailey

The writing group I used to go to, and was involved in the running of right at the embryonic stage a few years ago, has turned from a great concept with a great core of people into an absolute beast of a thing.

I stopped going for a while when other commitments came my way, but when I returned was glad to see the direction the group had gone. It had moved from just drinking and talking about writing to people bringing in work to read aloud and discussing it.

But with that also came feelings of ownership and cliquishness that so often invades this kind of venture. The group became quite large and an amount of resentment grew between the different personalities. It’s now become quite ugly and in a public way.

There’s been a lot of intolerance shown on both sides, which finally manifested when a group of writers recently broke off from the pack after being subject to what I can only surmise as being some quite spiteful and unwarranted abuse in the newsletter and general emails to the group. It’s a pretty poor show, and it would appear I’m not the only one who now harbours reservations about going back after coming into contact with the poisonous atmosphere that the in-fighting has generated.

I’m toying with the idea of joining the splinter group but it’s on every second Monday, a night of the week that doesn’t really suit. I’m hoping I can make something happen, though, because without it my options of being able to attend a writers’ group of that ilk are pretty much closed off.

To be honest, I think I enjoyed the group more in the early days when it was all about socialising and talking about writing. Since it became such a competitive and intolerant place it’s become less fun, and when people start to feel unwelcome, for whatever reason, then you nkowit just isn;t working. That’s why the format worked so well in the early days and why I’m still in touch with the writers I met through the idea that being in a writing group isn’t just about writing, it’s about sharing ideas and talking about the life.

I guess I’ll just continue as I am; I don’t think I’m doing too badly, but it’s a real shame it’s got to this.

It was a long day at work yesterday and I never got any writing done in the evening. My plans all went out the window not long after I’d enjoyed a steak pie supper from the chippy, but hopefully I can get back on track this evening.

Laters.

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About Colin Galbraith

Author, poet, music lover, rabbit tamer, fake faller.
This entry was posted in Day Job, Edinburgh, Editorial Comment, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The End Of A Good Thing

  1. Diane says:

    I miss being a part of a writers’ group, but 2 of the ones I was in became quite unpleasant, mostly due to the same people wanting to run it their way.

    I always work on the rule that committee posts, for example, should only be held for a maximum of 2 years. The chair that took over from me in the group that I founded was so reluctant to let go she was still there many years later when everyone else was fed up. I’ve heard she finally relinquished control when family issues became too big to ignore – and I heard there’s a nicer atmosphere there now. The group was formed 12 years ago and I was the only other chair for 2 … nuff said.

    I’d start one up here, but then I’d get lumbered with running the thing. So I’ll make do with the NaNo group for now.

  2. That’s a shame. In my experience, a writers’ group needs to stay small (not more than 5 to get work done), and then, for socializing, it’s often nice to have three or four groups from the region meet, say, once every few months, to mix and match the blood. But the core, where you bring work and actually get things done, needs to be small. And have guidelines. If you hit the point where you feel like you want it, I can email you the guidelines we used in the group I was a part of for six years, where all of us published regularly. We only split up because everyone moved to farflung corners of the world.

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