writers_group-1One of the benefits I’ve discovered about being part of a writer’s group is that it readies you for dealing with people. Between the critiques and social interactions, a writer’s group is a good way to learn how to come out of your shell.

Let’s face it, writing can be fairly isolated work. Yet, I go to my weekly writer’s group and meet and talk with other writers who may not have had a lot of interactions. While most of the people in the group are wonderful, sometimes someone will say or do something that sets someone else off. Things won’t erupt into an argument or anything. The offended party just lets things fester until he or she simply stops coming to the group.

Occasionally, we learn the reason behind the person’s absence, but other times not. I also tend to think that a lot of the reasons for the person leaving the group are misunderstandings that I would hope could have been resolved if the issue had been addressed.

Then, of course, there are critiques. My group tries to keep any feedback during reading night positive. Again, it may not be taken that way.

One thing I know from nearly 30 years of professional writing is that you need to develop a thick skin. If I had given up when I received my first rejection letter, I would never have known the joy I find as a writer.

So, when you find a writer’s group to join, take advantage of all it has to offer. Learn how to improve your craft, but also learn how to deal with people and handle criticism. While learning former will help you become a better writer, the latter two will help you be a happier person.

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