Mary 3/20/15 Toxic Groups

11079522_10203972672502071_6670301899829871343_nMarch 2oth, 2015

Toxic Groups

Dear M,

A lot of writing groups are great tools for helping writers improve their work and further their learning about the craft. It’s exciting when one finds that kind of group.

You found a writing group like this and spent almost two years (it will be in August ‘13) staying up all night writing so much, and you enjoyed that. It used to be fun and exciting. The group was full of witty things to learn, quips, lessons that stretched your writing muscles, and all around genuine help from fellow writers, teachers, and editors. After awhile, you noticed you started to feel drained. Day by day your will to write diminished, and you couldn’t find the excitement you once had. When the tides turned negative, it tarnished your energy and creativity. As time went on, you saw quite a bit of favoritism and a lot of negativity. Writing groups are supposed to teach and validate a writer’s efforts, but not all groups do that. Some groups can make you feel ignored, or worse, diminished.

The more you became involved, the more you questioned the inconsistencies, yet you remained persistent and tried to expend your energy on improving and helping others do the same.

Within your efforts you realized there is an emotional need for some people to be right, no matter what. This leads to feelings of superiority. Before long, this person believes his ideas are best, and everyone else is wrong. That ideology causes conflicts, no matter the subject, and conflicts can cause chaos. Many times you sought approval but rarely found it. When all these things happened at the same time, you began to question yourself, your writing ability and you couldn’t help wonder what caused this shift.

The writing group’s goal to help fell to the wayside, and your work seemed to get lost in a creeping vine and you withered.

As you climbed out from this group, you could breathe again, and you are finding your sense of self-worth. There is still a lot of work ahead for you, but you’re able now to forge ahead as you had done almost two years ago.

Some of us writers are shy and we want to learn how to emote and write better. You’ve fallen between the cracks somewhere. You were discouraged by the editing part, you tried to help others, and yet editing is one of the many things you still have to master in your own work before you can help anyone else. You felt invisible in that group. You weren’t going anywhere.

Now you can just write, hear yourself think, and other people can hear you now.

You do continue to write short stories to keep up with your daily word count. You’ve met some wonderful people whom you consider friends and who are genuinely honest and care a lot about you.

A great online writing group is a much needed essential tool nowadays, because we writers need all the encouragement we can use to improve our own written works.

Keep writing, do not give up, you can do this.

M.

To read more of our letters, click on The Path!

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2 Responses to Mary 3/20/15 Toxic Groups

  1. Peggy Wolf says:

    Well said, Mary. I can relate.

    Liked by 1 person

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