When it comes to social activities, writing may not be the first thing that comes to mind.Even if much of writing is done alone, writers rarely work in isolation. They rely on other writers for feedback, accountability and support, a process that is facilitated by the recently formed Palouse Writer’s Guild.
The guild itself is not a writing group, but rather a network of writing groups. It began in October and now includes around 13 groups and 300 active writers who meet all over the area. Last weekend, they held their first daylong writing workshop.
The idea for a network began after Khaliela Wright, a Potlatch writer and economics teacher at the Pullman campus of Spokane Falls Community College, joined a fledgling writing group. She was looking for professional development and to connect with other writers. As she asked around, she found that a lot of writing groups didn’t know about each other and it seemed to make sense to connect them.
“We’re not trying to take over groups, we’re just bringing more opportunities to the table for writers,” Wright said.
The Palouse Writer’s Guild offers a meet-up website where members can interact and find out about other groups. The organization is working toward nonprofit status so it can hold workshops and other professional development events on a regular basis.
Some of the groups in the guild are private, but others are open to new members and vary in focus. Sharon Cousins leads a free writing group that is ideal for those who are beginning their writing practice. Participants bring pen and paper and are encouraged to “leave the critic at home.”
“It’s a blast,” Wright said. “It’s all about getting the creative juices flowing.”
For more experienced writers, there’s a dedicated critique group led by Bill Jones. The goal of the group is to see novelists published, Wright said, so the focus is on producing high-quality work.
The Moscow NaNoWriMo group, led by Jay Dearien, works around National Novel Writing Month in November. They gather participants, push to complete a novel in the month and spend the rest of the year doing edits and write-ins to tidy up the rough draft. Write-ins are group work sessions, usually held in a home or coffee shop. The practice is helpful for accountability, Wright said, sort of like having a gym buddy. It also provides opportunity for immediate feedback and help.
To find out more about the group or connect with an affiliated writing group, visit www.meetup.com/Palouse-Writers-Guild.