My Writer’s Group

by Deborah Stoloff, Wheaton College Tutor Coordinator

I write short fiction. I meet with my writing group every month. We prioritize our time together and are strongly committed to supporting each other in our writing endeavors. There are times when some members are too busy, but we try our best to be there for ourselves and for one another.

During our group meetings, we write, we read, we encourage, and we critique honestly. A group member monitors the time while we take turns reading our work to one another; we do so because one of our members is legally blind. We adhere to our rule that nothing
self-deprecating can be spoken before reading aloud. We also discuss the challenges of publishing our fiction and drink a lot of coffee during our time together.

My writing group rarely socializes outside our monthly meetings, yet we know each other intimately through our discussions about our writing. We have grown to trust one another as we have made ourselves vulnerable and divulged private moments of our lives in our stories. I remember one meeting when Barbara, whom passed away last year, wrote about her intense anger. She knew she would be prevented from watching her son grow up.  She used her writing as a way to express and share her emotions. The members of my writing group know details about each others’ lives from our written words. These details stay with us, never leaving the room.

The women in my writing group have fueled me for years. They are extremely supportive as I care for my aging parents and my children. The writing process for all of us is very cathartic, and our writer’s group has become an extremely important part of my life.