On Thursday, I finally mustered up the confidence (and guts) to attend a local writers’ group. I have been intending to do so for most of the year but had always found an excuse. As my regular readers will know, it took me a while to gather up the courage to finally send short stories to competitions and risk the prospect of rejection or ridicule.
I have taken that hurdle in my stride now but that just involved posting (or emailing) my work off to faceless people who would not comment back if I did not make the grade anyway. This was relatively safe compared to personally fronting up to a group of strangers, and if accepted, to actually read my work out, opening myself up to the risk of direct and immediate of rejection and ridicule.
With my husband, as moral support, I fronted up at the meeting room and opened the door. Unfortunately the first words uttered were “sorry, you are not on our list. We have a waiting list. Did you ring?” I almost lost it then and there. I was crushed. (The website did not mention waiting lists, nor having to ring to book – though I had tried to ring for info and no one was home- and welcomed new members) I felt like an small bug being crushed underfoot. I wanted to slink off and return to my comfy little hovel and remain a hermit for the rest of my life.
Luckily, my saviour sat in their midst. “Visitors! let them in!” With a (I am sure obviously) weak smile, I (and my bodyguard) entered and hid down to the opposite end of the table. Here I found friendly, encouraging fellow writers. It was the day to read short stories inspired by the month’s set themes. Most were good with one poem being quite entertaining (and not just because it was in a speculative genre!).
I met three or four quite lovely women and there was even an unexpected famililar face! By the completion of the meeting, I had been invited to other groups (one unfortunately too far away) and there is a possibility of starting up a speculative fiction writers’ group in the area.
There is a great deal to be said for first impressions. Luckily, first impressions are not always a true measure of things. Thank you to those lovely people who made me feel welcome. Without you I would have not even entertained the idea of returning to the group – or any other writers’ group.