Locally, I'm part of a writing group. I've only been going since last September, and I've missed several meetings thanks to children or morning sickness. Overall, it's been a good experience. I enjoy meeting with other writers and hearing what they have to say. Some of them are quite good, others not so much; all of the ones who are coming consistently are great to have in the group.
It's a nice change from last year.
The first few meetings I went to last year were pretty hit and miss. The format's been pretty consistent the whole time (chit chat, then a quick free write, then sharing our pieces based on the theme decided upon at the last meeting) but at the end of last year the group felt like it was seriously imploding. We had a less than stellar workshop one month, then a bitchfest the next month in response, at which point people kinda quit coming.
Somebody reached out to the Campelltown council (who is paying for the Writers' Group) for help, and in response they sent a woman to lead the group and keep it going. She's been coming for about the last six months.
Tonight was her last meeting. I won't say her presence was horrible, but I will say I'm glad to see her go. There were good things about having her there. She was good at providing structure to the meetings and I think for the group to have a hope of surviving we needed someone to just be a solid, consistent presence for a few months.
Unfortunately, she just wasn't into the whole writers' group thing. At least not with us. She was not so good at hiding her disinterest in us as writers and in our writing, or her impatience to end every meeting as quickly as possible. I was thoroughly annoyed at her nearly monthly 20 minute diatribe reminding us how much she hated being there.
This month, as her parting gift, she kicked it up a notch by inviting in a speaker to tell us how to run a self-sufficient writing group. Kind of a kick in the pants, show us out the door kinda last meeting with her, with someone else taking up our entire meeting time with the message she loathed being there. Fun, fun.
So, next month'll be just us. We'll either sink or swim as a group and I am totally happy with that. I hope we swim, but even if we sink, at least it won't be because some annoying outside person kept wasting our precious writing and discussion time.