Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Stick to the Writing

When people write about intensely personal matters, it's tempting sometimes to stray into the psychology surrounding the situation. Let's say the writing's about the demise of a marriage, the demands of an elderly parent, alcoholism, or the loss of a life dream. A listener may feel triggered or may want to offer advice, support, a similar story from his/her life. But the focus always, in a writing group, must stay on the writing itself--the story, the words the writer has committed to paper. What works? What's memorable? What could use tweaking?

Some workshops treat everything written as fiction and refer to the writer as the narrator--it's not YOUR grandmother, it's THE grandomther.

Since I teach writing from personal experience I don't set up my workshops that way. But we all need to remember that this is not group therapy; it's a writing group.


Judi Pom said...

Carol I agree with what you say here. I would also venture to say that not only is the reader not getting feedback on his/her writing but also the attention turns from the reader to commentator and so those few moments of attention that everyone is so desperate for and patiently waits for get turned around and the focus turns to the commentor. That said, I must tell you that I've been waiting for you to change this blog because I didn't have much to add and also because you did say that you hoped to blog everyday. A big time committment wouldn't you say? Til then

Judi Pom said...

Oh dear, I should have edited my comments before hitting post. See, I am definitely not a first draft person.

Carol Henderson said...

I dis say that but I've been traveling, working on the taxes, finishing up some work assignments. Still, there is always time to blog in a given day--anybody can find 15 minutes. And now that you're watching me I'm going to find it! What's your blog address? Why not post it here--touche!