I've been thinking a lot about my writing goals for this summer, so it seemed only natural to, well, write about them!
Now that graduation is over, and I have some breathing space before I start working on my MFA, it seems like a good time to tackles those WIPs.
As some of you know, I've become enamored of Twitter recently. I'm still learning how to use it most effectively, but one of the things I'm enjoying most is finding and connecting with other writers. There seem to be quite a few writers in the Twitterverse, specifically romance writers interestingly enough. Long ago I had briefly considered attempting to write romance, but despite the fact that the romance genre is the single highest selling genre of fiction, there seems to be a stigma attached to romance as trashy and not legitimate fiction.
So as a writer, you have to ask yourself, which is more important: being published and making money, or literary integrity?
I've decided to do some "research" and have started collecting a variety of romance novels by different writers to see what's going on in the genre. I'm trying to read the work of some of the writers I've found on Twitter, I think it's a professional courtesy as well as practical research. Then maybe I'll give the genre a shot and see if I have anything to contribute. I've never been an eager proponent of "literary integrity." The concept of a "canon" irks me, actually and seems pretty arrogant and presumptuous. Yes, some literature is better than others, but literature is a very fluid animal changing with the times. Personally, I think the accepted canon should be more fluid as well. But that's another blog entirely.
In the meantime, I've got a couple of WIPs I am continuing to work on over the summer. I want to set realistic goals, but having never written anything novel-length before, I'm really treading on new ground so I think I'll just take it as it comes. I've found that, at least for this first time through, my tendency is to get the bones of the story on the page first and then once I get to the end I'll loop back around and flesh it out. When I go back over it and read it now it feels so clumsy in its brevity, but I believe in the story.
One of the things that I think is most helpful to me, as a writer, is to connect in meaningful professional ways with other writers. Writing can be a lonely and doubt-ridden proposition, so talking to other writers and learning that they have the same anxieties and doubts is a liberating experience. It's nice to know that other writers don't just sit down and write a polished final draft the first time through; that they also struggle with character development, story arc, subplots, continuity, etc. I'm finding again that Twitter is an interesting place to learn these things about other writers.
However, I think it's still important to connect in person with other writers as well, so I worked this week toward establishing a local writer's group. I'm happy to say that I managed to pull together a small group of local writers and I'm very excited to start working together, sharing ideas and concerns.
For all of you writer-types, have you been or are you currently involved in a writer's group? If so, what did you find most useful or beneficial about the group? What were the most important things you took away from it as a writer?