It’s not an overstatement to say that I love my writing group—the members, the interaction, the energy, the critiquing—all of that and more.
When I first joined the group, we met a couple of times a month, one morning meeting and one evening one, the latter being primarily for those who worked during the day. We acted more as a critique group than a generative writing group in that we didn’t actually encourage, much less pressure, members to write, write, write.
But then something changed. About three years ago, we noticed that many of the pieces we wrote and critiqued had a similar theme: memories of yesteryear, most of which focused on family connections. The light bulb came on, and I suggested putting together an anthology. How hard could it be, right? We’d already done the writing; now we just had to put it together.
Our ignorance of the work involved was colossal.
Only now can we laugh about it. Little did we realize how grueling the editing, revising, and re-editing would be. And then there was the cover creation and the pesky but necessary pages like the copyright page, title page, foreword, and introduction (if not part of the text itself). And then there was the list of contributors that we wanted to add to the Back Matter.
Although all of us were avid readers, none of us had actually studied the parts of a book and the order they go in. I learned the difference between recto and verso pages and had the fleeting thought, Uh-oh, we’re in trouble.
We pressed forward, and Serving Up Memory was published a little over two years ago. We felt so pleased with its reception that we created a Kindle edition. Fun times. We had a few signings and presentations, and then we were on our way to the next project, a local writing workshop that we called “First One Word, Then Another.”
Held on the downtown Camden campus of Central Carolina Technical College, the one-day workshop was (in our estimation) a huge success. We had classes led by established writers, a panel discussion, a delicious box lunch, door prizes, and a book sale.
High on the success of the workshop, we decided to put another anthology together. It’s not that we’d forgotten how much work was involved, but our thinking had shifted to, “We learned so much about what NOT to do last time that it’ll be a much more streamlined process in 2016.”
Wrong! I’ll skip the details.
What I Wish I Could Tell You was published in December, 2017 with the Waxing Crescent Press imprint. It includes some great pieces, and yet…….well, the overall theme seemed to go awry. We began chatting about what we’d do “next time,” but our hearts weren’t in it—yet.
Now we’re talking about the 2018 anthology in a tentative way, and here’s something we’ve discovered about our group. We like writing and creating and publishing, but we don’t like marketing. Or rather, we’re not that good at it. Projects are fun and motivating. Pushing the finished products are not.
Consider this blog post to be part of the marketing process for our previous books AND be on the alert for announcements to come about our next publication. All I can say for now is that we love stories, especially those from the past. “Everybody’s got a story,” Kathryn, a member of our group, often says, and we want to share some of the untold ones.