Thursday, April 20, 2006

Pooks' Peeps

Yesterday was the first "real" meeting of Pooks' Peeps (the previous meeting was just for planning purposes.) This is a writers' group that I wanted to form for ages but didn't do anything about until I read Getting Things Done!

Pooks, you may remember, is my APW* friend who let me take her Basics of Novel Writing class a couple of years ago. I asked her if she would mind telling her current class that a group was forming, so she did. She also put me in touch with Ronniebeegood, who had lots of email addresses from her classes. That contact led to a third person, Rick The Blogless, who volunteered to set up a password-protected website for us.

I suggested naming the group Pooks' Peeps and the name caught on right away because everyone in the group had taken her class at one time or another. Rick's first website post was about People of the Pooks (love that!). We ended up with so many interested people that we had to form two groups. One meets during the day, the Day POPs, and the other at night, the Night POPs.

The Day POPs meeting yesterday was such a joy! We meet at a Borders book store in a quiet, cozy corner of their music department. I was excited and nervous. I'd been in an online critique group before, but had no experience with a non-virtual group. I mean, when you crit someone else's work, they're right there in front of you, in person! I think we were all a little hesitant at first, but pretty soon we were discussing each other's Work like we'd been doing this for years.

I wasn't sure how I would feel about receiving critiques of my work in a face-to-face group. After all, my current Work in Progress (or WIP, that's the lingo for those of us in cool writers' groups) is like my baby. I tend and nurture its every utterance! After about two seconds, though, I realized that I was learning how to improve the work and make it strong enough to go out into the world when the time comes. What mother writer wouldn't want that?

Everyone approached this the right way. Critiques were given and taken in the spirit intended. I know we each left feeling pumped (peeped?) and eager to get back to our laptops. I can hardly wait for the next meeting, in two weeks.

*APW: Actual Published Writer