I have been writing here for over ten years. Something like eight years of that has been once a week. Almost all of it I have done alone.
Like, of course all the typing was done by me. That shouldn’t be too surprising. It is, after all, very difficult for two or more people to use one keyboard. What I mean by writing alone is, I don’t run any of this by an editor or second set of eyes. I just type it out and post it up. Including most of the stories. This is sort of a problem.
Working with other people is always a bit of a challenge. Everyone will have competing ideas about how a thing should be done. If everyone is professional, cordial, and shares a mutual respect that doesn’t need to be a source of conflict. I have worked together with other people to create things that are, by far, better than anything we would have done individually lots of times. I would even say that it’s kind of fun. Bouncing ideas off each other. Building on ideas and making them better, funnier, deeper, richer. Working with other people can be a really good time.
When I’m writing I just haven’t found the opportunity. Maybe it is more accurate to say that I haven’t run into a willing collaborator.
I have recently started running a lot of my stories past what people call Beta readers. Really just some friends that are willing to be subjected to very early versions of my stories. I’m extremely grateful for that feedback but I also thought I could benefit from searching out a wider community. A group of people that don’t know me, have no reason to be nice to me, and could care less if I wrote or didn’t. You know, a writers group.
First I posted a few things on Reddit under the destructive readers group. I didn’t feel I was getting much actual feedback there. I still jump in and give some people notes on their work because I had hoped that was what they would do for me, but yeah, you can post stuff there and not get a lot back.
I tried joining a writing group here in the city, but that was right before Covid made in person meetups an impossibility. They only have a facebook and yahoo group and I use neither of those.
I have had a lot of luck using Discord with game development groups so I started looking there. I found one in Edmonton (only a few hours away and somewhere I regularly travel) but they chased me out because I didn’t live in Edmonton. Out of an online group. That can only meet online right now. Strange, but whatever.
I joined two other groups, but left one almost instantly when I discovered everyone else was high school age.
So now I am testing out this third one. The people seem okay, but they are definitely much younger than me. Not that surprising with an all online group. I have offered some feedback on writing posted, but I have yet to receive any for my own. Maybe it will turn out to be helpful, maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll hop out of here and head over to a different group. We’ll see.
What I do know is, I think I am done with doing this all alone. If I want my writing to get better, I need some other people to work with.