philip stephen rowlands


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Pond Life Or Writers Groups?

user image 2013-02-22
By: philip stephen rowlands
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I must admit the idea of joining a writers group or circle had never really appealed to me. My most recent experience of a writers group on Facebook served only to reinforce my negative attitude. The title of the group was what attracted me as it purported to be authors helping out other
authors. It proved a misleading title.

Some, and I hasten to add not all, groups and forums bear a striking resemblance to life in a pond. Every inhabitant has its own place in the social hierarchy and protects their social status jealously. I must have really muddied the waters when I jumped in to this particular pond with both feet blazing. I had the temerity to place a link to a promotional video I had created for Google+ eXplosion a book I had written to help other authors get to grips with Google+. Incidentally it was not long before I was giving it away for free on my blog.

Apparently I had committed a social faux pas akin to breaking wind during the exchange of vows at somebodys wedding. Self promotion! You could hear the communal gasps as the ripples of outrage spread across the communal waters. One author asked what the heck else I had written anyway. Soon other members of the group entered the fray. My motives for joining were thrown into question and my humorous attempt to defuse the situation only seemed to make matters worse.

XXX, Thanks for
the welcome. I feel like a kid who just started a new school. Just hope you
are not one of the milk monitors. Hmm. I have participated in this group prior
to uploading the infomercial. Posts mainly from my blog.

It didnt help!
Another member accused me of having a snit fit. Im still not sure what that is.

However a certain lady Patricia Reed did rush to my defence and appeared to be as confused as me
regarding the groups remit.

I was under the impression that this group was for "authors helping authors". . .

The reason I felt compelled to share this experience is that another writer suffered the same fate at the hands of the same group only this week. (You can visit her blog here .) I was able to reassure her that she was not alone. The groups' response was predictable and at one point I was accused of flouncing.
Anyone who knows me personally knows I do not flounce, have snit fits, or take kindly to bullies of the physical or literary variety.

The point is it can be a demoralising experience to encounter criticism of a personal nature where you expected to find help and support.

It was with certain misgivings therefore that I attended the Writers Group in my local library this week. My reservation proved foundless. I spent two hours in the company of some of the most supportive and inspirational people I have met for a long time. The quality of their writing left me feeling humbled.

The group is run by Frances Berry the daughter of that great Welsh author Ron Berry. It is literally
two hundred yards from my home. I would never have stumbled upon it if I hadnt been actively looking for groups so that I could tell them about Eto .

As much as I love the internet for the way it has opened up the world to me and allowed me to make many new friends and acquaintancest there is nothing quite like personal interaction with real people. So my advice would be, if there is a writers group near you, join it!

Ceri Shaw
02/22/13 09:45:12PM @ceri-shaw:

Flouncing????? Dwi ddim yn deall