Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Bactine for Writer's Burnout Part 3 (Writers Meetings) / IWSG



The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds.


What is writer’s burnout?

Burnout is very different from writer’s block. It’s worse. Writer’s burnout is something you feel deep down…bone-deep. It’s just like when athletes burnout from working themselves too hard and too much for too long. They can lose their love of the sport, physically and mentally.


To read my story and the 3 tips I previously shared check out: 



More Tips to Help You START Reversing Writer’s Burnout:


When we’re burned out, blocked, or otherwise struggling to write, the best thing may not be to force ourselves to sit at our desks and stare at the blank page. That can be paralyzing. Sometimes, the best thing can be to get away from our desk and escape the pressure to fill that page by seeking company with individuals who understand.

Writers do the initial work of writing alone. But we do have critique partners, beta readers, editors, proofreaders, publishers…the list goes on and on. And yet, writers are the ones sitting at the desk (or wherever you prefer), putting down words, day in and day out. Occasionally, it can be a lonely job, especially if you don’t have someone close to you to share it with.

That’s where writers groups and meetings come in.

MY STORY:

At the peak of my burnout, when I finally admitted to myself I was indeed burned out, I took the first step by voicing my problem on social media. I received wonderful support from many writers and even some people who don’t write. But I craved a deeper connection.

A dear friend and fellow IWSGer (yes, I’m talking about you again, M.J. Fifield) had been giving me monthly emails for a local writers group that meets at a library right down the road from where I live. For months, I had wanted to go but something always fell on the same day as the meeting. Then on the first Saturday, after I spoke my truth they were having a gathering and I didn’t have another commitment. The topic that would be presented that day was about storyboarding, which sounded like just the topic for a writer in my position. Better yet, I found out the day before that M.J. herself was the presenter.

The meeting was great. Everyone was so kind, and I felt right at home. I also loved the layout of the meeting: writing-related presentation, critiques, and a writing exercise at the end. Just the perfect balance for me.

As an introvert, it is tough for me to get out and speak up, but I got out and I forced myself to speak up, give advice, add to the conversation, and I’m glad I did.

I left rejuvenated.

Being around other writers inspired me. It was just what I needed after feeling disconnected from writing and the world for so long.


BACTINE #9: Check your local libraries.

Go to the reference desk of your local library or give them a call and ask if a group of writers get together there once a month for a meeting. If the closest library doesn’t have a meeting, go further. There are several libraries within a thirty-minute driving distance from where I live, so try them all.


BACTINE #10: Facebook Groups and Meetup.com

Maybe your local libraries don’t host writers meetings. Don’t worry! Do a search on Facebook for groups in your area for writers, join them, and see if they meet.
Meetup.com is another great source. Groups who meet weekly or monthly and are open to new additions are listed on Meetup.com. Search for a writing group in your area, check out the listing and information provided on when the next meet up will be. If it sounds good to you, join it. You never know what’ll happen.


BACTINE #11: Create your own group.

If you can’t find a group to join, create your own. Announce it on Meetup.com. Create a flyer and ask your local libraries if you can pin it up somewhere. Heck, leave a flyer on some tables when no one is looking. Set up a Facebook Group, share your intentions to all of your social media and blog followers and see if people want to join.

Even if you get just one writer attending your meetings, that’s one writer you can connect with, learn from, and one day lean on.

TIP: Make sure to have a way they can signup so you can receive their email address and send out notices for the next meeting. If you have fliers, provide your email address for interested people to contact you.


Take a chance.

Join.

Participate.

Offer.

Connect.


More Bactine posts for Writer’s Burnout coming soon!


QUESTIONS: Have you ever gone to a writers meeting? What was your experience?


87 comments:

  1. How wonderful it was MJ doing the presentation and you got to meet her. After talking to several writing group these past few months, it's inspired me.

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    1. MJ actually runs the group now because the two leaders moved to another state. I plan to do presentations next year to help her out. :)

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  2. Being around other writers helps tremendously! Belonging to a critique group whether online or in person is a must for us writers.

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    1. I don't take part in the critique segment of the group...not sure it's for me, but it can certainly make a difference for many writers.

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  3. I feel like that about life at the moment, so much to adjust to, just takes times I guess as with writer's burnout and writer's block.
    Enjoy this Novemeber Chrys, hope all is well.

    Yvonne.

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    1. Thank you, Yvonne. I hope you enjoy November as well.

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  4. I've gone to various groups/meetings over the years. It's always hard for me to do and when it doesn't work out, it sets me back. But if I hadn't tried, I wouldn't have found some of the wonderful people I did. :)

    And yeh for getting to hang out with MJ!

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    1. I'm glad you found wonderful people at the groups/meetings you were able to go to.

      MJ is a lot of fun. :)

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  5. Congrats on your newsletter spotlight.
    Great advice on burnout. It's a serious issue I think too many of us push to the side or try to deny. Acceptance is important. Finding a good meeting seems helpful, but it has to be the right fit. I've had both good and bad experiences with writer's groups, but with my current work schedule I can't really make them. Still, when I can find a good weekend one, I take it.

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    1. Thank you! That was a pleasant surprise.

      Acceptance is really important. Only after I accepted my situation and came to terms with what was really going on did I begin to heal.

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  6. I admire your courage, Chrys. I've toyed with going to a writers group but have yet to do it. Same as you, never seem to have the time, talk myself out of it, blah blah blah. Maybe one day? I'm so glad you went!

    Elsie

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    1. Yes, maybe one day. I'm glad I pushed myself to get out. Now I try to get whenever I can.

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  7. I still miss my writers' group back home in NY, but I've finally found a good new one in the place I'm temporarily in. I only wish this new group met every week like my home group, and that we had weekly write-ins along with regular meetings! That always provided so much motivation and accountability.

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    1. Weekly write-ins would be great. The group I go to gets together once a month. I fear if it happened more often I'd be absent most of the time.

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  8. It's tough for me to join groups in real life. Uncomfortable, but highly necessary to keep us rounded and connected.

    Teresa

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    1. I was nervous, not knowing what to expect. I went to another that wasn't a good fit for me, but I like this one. And it definitely helps that MJ is there, so I know someone. lol

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  9. I did create a group! I prefer online to the real world though.
    Cool you met MJ.

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    1. That's true...I guess you did create a writers group.

      I met MJ before then. We go to many of the same book events now. :)

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  10. Solid tips. I had to take a break from my writing groups because of life, but now that life is calming down, they've invited me back. Timing couldn't be better. :)

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    1. That's awesome! Enjoy your time back with your group. :)

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  11. I belonged to a fantastic writers group in New Hampshire before I moved—and go back to visit whenever I have the chance—and more often than not, I would leave meetings feeling rejuvenated and excited to write. So when I got down to Florida, I used Meetup and library websites to find local groups in hopes of being able to have that same experience here.

    Running a group is just...slightly more stressful, but I hope I can figure it out and do it justice.

    Bottom line is, I just really love hanging out with other writers, even when we're not talking about writing.

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    1. I think you're doing great. If you ever want help, let me know. I am trying to come up with presentation ideas. I've never done a presentation before, and never have created a presentation on my computer, but I want to do it. :)

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    2. If you haven't already, try contacting the FWA, Florida Writer's Association. They are a great bunch and have chapters all over the state. Their website is: https://floridawriters.net/
      Good luck!

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    3. Hi Lisa! I was a member of FWA many years ago and would like to join again. :)

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  12. Love the title of today's blog. I love writers' meetings. I may grouse (privately) about the time it takes to go (esp. when it takes 1.5 hours or longer to get to them) but I'm always rejuvenated afterward. I totally agree that they are essential. Good luck to you, Chrys.

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    1. Having to travel far to attend a meeting would be tough.

      Thanks, Diane! Good luck to you, too!

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  13. I am looking right now for a writer's group to meet with. I write every Friday morning with a Meetup group, "Shut up and Write" and it is great for writing. However, I want something more as well. I want exactly what you're talking about here, a place to meet, talk, critique, and just BE around/with other writers. So far I haven't found what I'd like, but I'm still looking! Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. I'm glad that you're still looking. You'll find the right group.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

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  14. You are so right. Tapping into, reading, or hearing other's work really inspires me. And when I fell inspired, my cup runneth over. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  15. I've not really had any formal groups, but I'm missing my grad school/writer buddies I used to hang out with before we moved, so I know what you mean. Talking through the plot or the problem is a great way to move on to fixing it, and talking to other writers is best.

    I'm getting a fair bit of energy from NaNo, too (as usual), and this time I've even gone to one meet-up, and may go try for a write-in this evening.

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    1. I wish the meet-ups and write-ins for NaNo for my area were closer. Right now, they are too far away.

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  16. Great advice - but EEK! So scary to do that the first time. I haven't met a Real Life critic buddy or joined a group yet, but I think it's great advice. I'm not doing NaNo but I know the NaNo group meets in my city a couple of times. Maybe I'll be brave... :)

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  17. The writers group with MJ sounds awesome! I've never been to a writers group. I think I'm too much of an introvert. But maybe I'll look and see what's around near me and give it a shot sometime.

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    1. I am very introverted, but I thought it was necessary for me, and it really helps me to be around other writers...makes me feel more like a writer. lol

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  18. I prefer the online, as people can annoy me in real life lol but you never know.

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    1. LOL! I usually prefer online, too, but after a while craved real interaction with writers.

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  19. I'm lucky to have a terrific local chapter of RWA. We have around 50 members and meet once a month with usually about 30 in attendance. It always gets my motivation up and rolling. Sounds like a great meeting you attended. So glad you found it.

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    1. I wanted to join RWA and get together with the local chapter that meets at a library close to me. They invite other authors to come for a couple of visits, but after that you have to join RWA and their chapter...both are expenses I don't have at the moment.

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  20. Great advice, Chrys. I don't belong to a writing group in my neighborhood, haven't found any that fit so far, but I'll keep looking. Perhaps, creating one myself is a way to go.

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    1. If you keep looking, you may find a good one for you. Starting one could be just what you need...you can do it your way. ;)

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  21. Great advice, Chrys.

    I had a wonderful writer friend who is no longer with us. We met once every few weeks for five plus hours over coffee it was amazing! I miss her all the time. Never connected with another writer here in Chicago. I reached out a few times and they never responded, so I gave up. Maybe when I finally move to Florida, I will look there. Time will tell.

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    1. There are a lot of groups here in Florida. :)

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  22. Writer's burn-out is awful and hard to overcome. So glad that trip to the group helped, and an extra bonus for having M.J. there. I'm going to try to hit my first, real life writer's group in 2 weeks. I'm so curious how it will turn out (I have to drive over an hour to get there. )

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    1. I can't wait to hear how it turns out for you! But the driving over an hour is tough.

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  23. I went through some burnout myself earlier this year. Connecting with other writers often helps me, too. They can be inspiring and reinvigorating. There's something about just being in the room with other people who create, too. @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

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    1. It was really nice to be around other writers. It made me feel more like a writer and connected. Plus, I was with people you got it.

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  24. I've been contemplating going to a writer's group meeting. Good Advice!! I definitely need some inspiration. So glad you found a great group and MJ!!!

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    1. I hope you do go to a meeting. :) MJ is awesome. I met her at an event we both went to and then at local author gatherings. We go to a lot of the same events now. :)

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  25. Feeling burnt out is why I semi took last month. I only wrote drabbles and didn't let myself worry much about my WIPs. It was refreshing to say the least and definitely helped.

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    1. I'm glad stepping back help you. For me, stepping back made it worse, but every writer and every case of burn out is different. :)

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  26. Great advice :-) I'm glad you found the support you needed.

    Ronel visiting on IWSG day Lessons in Writing from Sewing

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  27. Awesome post, Chrys!! I'm right (write) there with you. Introvert extreme working full time. It takes kidnapping to get me out in public once I get home at five. I'm trying to force myself to get more social but it's difficult even knowing the benefits are wonderful once that first step is taken. Courage to both of us as we venture forth . . .

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    1. It's hard for me to get out and be social, too. And afterward I'm drained for days.

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  28. These are great tips. I've had creative burnout since my client base has grown. It's hard to juggle. Great post! As always, thank you for sharing.

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    1. Having more clients can definitely put a lot of pressure and strain on us and cause burnout. I wish you the best of luck!

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  29. That's great that going to the writer's group helped. I'm in a critique group and for a few years I just critiqued and didn't submit. Now I'm finally submitting again.

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    1. I'm actually not critiquing any work that's submitted right now in this group because I do so much of that as an edit and I don't really know these writers enough to make me comfortable in critiquing them.

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  30. Sharing is the way to see we're not going through things alone. It also gives us a chance to unwind and socialize.

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    1. Sharing is so freeing. I felt so connected, which is what I needed. :)

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  31. You always have such great advice. Thanks. Our small library recently started a writer's group. We average 10 to 12 people at a meeting. It's taking awhile to get organized, but we're finally doing some critiquing of each other's work. WE will get better.

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    1. 10 to 12 people? Wow! Sometimes the group I go to has 5 or 7. It doesn't help that the two leaders moved out of state, so we lost two people.

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  32. You know, maybe I should start searching for another critique group near me. I already have two, but the number of people in one of them is slowly dropping, and the other one doesn't meet as regularly as I'd like. It'd be especially great if I could find a group devoted to science fiction/fantasy. Thanks for the suggestions.

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  33. Such solid advice, Chrys. As usual! Thanks so much for these suggestions. All best to you, my dear!

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  34. I found my current writing group through Meetup.com. We may have to look for more members soon. And, a great way to keep a group like that in touch is groups.io. It's like Yahoo groups (which was how we did things before), but better technically (Yahoo groups is buggy).

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    1. I never heard of groups.io. Thanks for the tip!

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  35. I'm so glad you found the writing group near you. It sounds like just the thing to keep your enthusiasm high and that nasty burn-out at bay. Good for you!

    I went to one writers' meeting. I was so excited, but a little nervous about going, so my hubby and I took a "dry run" the day before so I'd be able to find the meeting place easily. I got my stuff together and went at the appointed hour. When I got home, I told my hubby, "Would you believe everybody at the meeting knew me?" He raised his eyebrows in surprise. Then I added, "And they were all married to you." Yep. I was the only one who showed.

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    1. Aw. Shucks! I'm so sorry no one else attended that meeting. Don't give up. You may yet find one where no one knows you and all aren't married to your husband. lol

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  36. I'm glad you've come through, Chrys. Great tips.
    I meet regularly with two writers, my critters. Both published authors. And there is the Queensland Writers Centre in the building where i work. I often attend meetings.

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  37. Being with other people helps a lot of things, including depression. It helps you not focus on your own problems and gets you thinking about other things. Yes, I do attend writers' group meetings. I've learned a lot from other authors by doing that.

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  38. Great suggestions! I live in an area rich with writer's groups, but so many don't. I'm betting there are people hungry for connection in those areas without.

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  39. I did belong to a local writer's group for a few years, but it fell apart after a couple of key people moved away. I miss it and know I should search for a new one.

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  40. I've not done it myself but I can see how it would be helpful. Online groups are great but there's something inspiring about personal interaction. Glad it helped you!

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  41. It sounds like your library offers some great learning experiences with writer's meetings. I went to one at my local library, and it was more like a poetry reading. It was nice to hear others' works, but I sort of felt like an outsider because they had been meeting together for a long time and I didn't really know if I could fit in. I guess I am looking more for a class or workshop than a critique group. Maybe I should check out Meetup.com.

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  42. Its great that you reached out and received so much support. Isn't our readers and writers community simply fabulous?

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  43. So wonderful that you find went and liked it! I belong to a local writers group called S.C.I.F.I. (South Central Indiana Fiction Interface). I joined about 8 years ago and was terribly nervous the first several months. But now I love it. We critique each other's stories in round table form. I've learned so much from them.

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  44. Engaging as ever, Lady Chrys! And, as luck has it, perfectly timed for extricating creativity from the brambles of despair - thanks ;-)

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  45. I have been a part of a couple of writer's group--two here in the Savannah area--both have something to offer but I really like the one that meets in Flannery O'Conner's childhood home :)

    www.thepulpitandthepen.com

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  46. What a wonderful list of tips and I love the title! The one that really struck a chord with me was going to the library. which is within walking distance. I never thought about connecting with local writers there before, and it couldn’t possibly be more convenient! Thanks so much, Chrys!

    Julie

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