Writing in Groups: The Joy of Working With People Who Intimidate You

Steve tearing apart a manuscript

So lately, I’ve broken up the monotony of my Sunday writing schedule by meeting up with three of my aspiring writer friends; Chris (Geekadelphia blogger, former intern at Quirk), Steve (local blogger, handsome man around town), and Jess (my eternal travel buddy). And since I started working on this new book, I’ve also met up with YA author Jessica Corra and my artist BFF Britt Miller.

During the week, I spend a lot of time in Cosi, Starbucks, etc. But on Sunday, I generally spend all day fussing with my in-progress novel, articles for Philly.com, and Geekadelphia blogs. The little writing group meets up at the end of the day, usually around 6pm, which is generally the time I’m finished with all that.

Aside from the fact that Chris, Jess, and Steve all give excellent advice, and the fact that Jess C. and Britt make lovely drinking-coffee-while-we-write companions, there is a reason I hang out with this select group of people.

Steve about to dish out his thoughts

They intimidate the Hell out of me.

Okay yes, they’re all my friends. Jess and Britt are particularly close friends of mine. Chris was once my intern at work. But never the less, they each have qualities that make me sweat.

Jess, who cannot be described. Britt, a brilliant artist who is absolutely fearless. Steve, though he will never admit it, is a phenomenal writer, great to the point that his Twitter updates make me want to give up. Chris is young and insanely ambitious, thus making an old-head-in-comparison like me nervous. Jess Corra is an agented author with a fabulous book coming out in the very near future.

Don’t be fooled by the smile, he’ll steal your job

The fact that all of these people have these qualities, makes them fantastic companions to write with. They keep me on my toes (Chris), they make me want to be better at what I do (Britt and Steve), they give me something to aspire to (Jess and Jess).

So really, I can’t recommend this strategy enough. Surround yourself with friendly, intimidating people. Let yourself be terrified. Be nervous. Let your hands sweat when they are ready to dish out advice. It’s the best.

Comments

Jessica Starkus
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HI STEVE!!!!!

[...] images, essays, and stories. One member of our group of writerly people wrote a piece about how everyone in the writing group intimidates him. Eric is right. That fear keeps me writing. It is a fear of disappointing not only myself, but the [...]

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