Tag Archives: writers

Expand the Writers Group?

Sundays Mean Starbucks with the Writers Group

So, the Santa Monica Writers Group is getting a bit smaller than I’d like. One of our members moved back East and another is shooting a movie in Hungary or somewhere Eastern European. Recently, there has been a push among the remaining four members to add a couple more.

Obviously, I’m happy to look for more members. More eyes mean more perspectives, and more perspectives hopefully mean a more well-rounded criticism. Also, writing is a lonely pursuit, and it’s always good to have more friends who are writers. We can be lonely together.

Yet I also don’t want to make the group too big. I have been in rooms with too many writers and it’s not fun. Writers are a prickly bunch and when they don’t feel like they are being heard they get ornery. Attention, space, laughter all become commodities and the conversation can become something of a battle—who has the best joke, who can command the most attention, etc. Plus, with a group of ten, it becomes harder to find a table at our Starbucks HQ. I’d like to keep the group down to five or six.

I’m going the Craigslist route in terms of advertising, but if anyone is in the LA area and reading this, you are more than welcome to join the group—just send a ten page writing sample.

Applicant or not, I’d like to hear your thoughts on this pressing matter.

Joined a Writing Group

The best (and really only) way I can truly motivate myself to do something is to have an audience. Like a lot of people, while the joy of writing is intrinsic, it can get very stressful and boring if the words are simply staying in my computer. I need to share the screenplay I just wrote, but short of a contract with Paramount, let’s face it, not many producers or other creative types are interested in reading it.

All to say, I joined a writing group. It’s really a pair, but we’re growing (if you live in Santa Monica let us know!). I like the group format because unlike the class, I don’t have to worry about the pressure of grades, and, well, it’s free. We’re structuring the group like a writers’ workshop. Every other week, we’ll meet and share drafts of either tele- or screenplays and then we’ll go through last week’s submissions. We are very big on constructive critique—nothing too hurtful (all first drafts of screenplays are a lot like ugly babies, so be careful). I just shared my first screenplay—a first for me. I’ve written about three screenplays, but I’ve always kept them close to me, for various reasons, foremost among them not really knowing anyone beside my dad who would read them. Not to say my dad didn’t give good notes, it’s just, well, time to broaden the range of voices.

We named ourselves the Third Street Writers, which I like. Like Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade itself, a mix of clueless amateurs (me) and steely eyed professional performers (Peter), we can be a good place to share ideas, find inspiration and draw ideas from each other. The group meets at eight on Sundays, in case you’re interested. Maybe we’ll see you in Santa Monica…

This Guy Has Been Working the Promenade for Years--Poor Monkey!

This Guy Has Been Working the Promenade for Years--Poor Monkey!