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.
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