August 31, 2009

Writing group thoughts

Last night I met up with some Austin writers I met via the internet and we had a lovely time drinking wine and critiquing each others' work. I heard some absolutely fantastic work-in-progress and got some really good comments on my own stuff. There is a prose poem I have been working at for awhile that I think will really come together once I apply their suggestions. I'm already looking forward to our next meeting. I came away with two prompts, and I'm also excited to start working on another poem that I've been struggling with. I want to at least get it workshop-ready so I can get some feedback.

It's interesting to realize how hard it is to break out of writing habits. Sitting at a table with some people I'd never met in person before, I realized that some aspects of my work that I have been struggling with since college are still hanging around, albeit not quite as much. Often in my writing, my introductions have a lot of superfluous stuff in them. I have always sort of needed to work my way into a piece gradually. That in and of itself isn't the problem - the problem is that I don't do such a good job of editing the extraneous easing-in out in later drafts. I will say that my ability to cut this stuff out has gotten much better over time; it's no longer in every single piece. But sometimes, I still miss that extra stuff, because it just doesn't stand out to me. I still need to pay attention to that in my work.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to more writing group time.