It's hard to do, but I am not about to throw in the towel. Too painful. And then what do I do? Stay in bed, hiding under the covers? No. I don't want that. Other alternatives do not present themselves well.
Sometimes, being a writer, feels like I am some Dickensonian character, holed up in a cobweb infested dining room waiting for my true love to return. (Snicker - I'm sure the Muse would like that image.) I can't fester under the covers; I can't hide in my office; I can't not write.
Thankfully, I have support. Friends who cherish me, don't push me too hard, cajole now and again, and basically are there in case I need to scream. I treasure them. I try to keep them near. When they haven't heard from me in awhile, they know I'm in the doldrums and they contact me and I get better.
In the little writers' group that I belong to, we lost a charter member. His job took him elsewhere. We applauded his success and began, in hiding, to gnaw at our fingernails. This man was the back bone of the group. He was committed to his writing and to each one of the other members. There wasn't a jealous bone in his body. He gave comments with kindness. But he read every presented MS twice or more, he made gentle, but succinct comments, he had a quick mind and used it to evaluate what we presented.
With this man gone, we knew we had to step up. The group committed to be better critiquers. But with all groups, attendance fluctuated, and feelings of new members were hurt. I had blasted medical issues and stayed away while healing. At times, there were only two members at the meetings compared to almost twenty in the spring. Rumblings began. Discontent grew. Talk of disbandment flew.
I wrote to the group, from my new-found resilience, and reminded them of other groups in the area - stifling, jealous people with no imagination and no ilk for a genre other than their own. People who love to hear themselves talk at the expense of the MS presenter. People who know only how to cut and not applaud, remonstrate and not cajole, criticize with no help offered. Oh, it was horrid being part of these groups.
Thankfully, I found my new little group in 2009. A hodgepodge of writer styles and genres, one even a playwright. It was difficult, at first, to critique other genres that I wasn't familiar nor comfortable with, but I persevered. The members were kind during my fledgling days. They are still kind.
But - they have lost their focus. I reminded them of their prior accomplishments, bringing up tidbits from the stories they presented in the past and reminding them how much they opened my eyes to worlds I'd not known before. I reminded them of how they helped me and how I have grown from their critiques.
Thankfully, for once I inspired and the group is meeting again this Saturday. I don't know how many will be there or for how long, but I'm grateful the group is giving themselves another chance.
Writing is difficult and lonely work. If I can find others who share my joy and my sorrows, I am better for it and my writing is, too.
Life is saving me (and you.)