A friend of mine wants to set up a writer's/artist's group in his area, as the only one he could find around him has been inactive for awhile. I was asked what the writer's groups I belong to do so he could be sure to include things people would be interested in. Though he is a screenwriter, he is thinking of making it for all artistic types.
Rather than just sending a list of things we do in the local writer's groups, I thought it would be good to get a little feedback from those that read on here. What is it you enjoy about the writer's (or other artistic) groups you belong to? Do you just gather to talk about artistic things, do you have speakers come out, do you critique? What do you thing any group like this should have? Is there anything you don't like or you think is missing from those you have participated in?
For me, the biggest thing is probably the aspect of talking to like-minded people. It is so great to talk to someone who knows what problems you might face, someone who has been there in that very same place. I also enjoy the courses and educational programs, as well as the resources provided. In groups like these, you can be as weird as you like. You can talk about the issues of whether your zombie likes brains or other body parts, what you should name this character's 90 children, which man your romantic lead should go for, whether your vampire should be able to walk in daylight, what trophies your serial killer should keep and whether this weapon is realistic in your murder mystery. You can talk about those things without someone thinking you're nuts. That's the beauty of it. No little white padded wagons will drag you away when everyone else you're talking to sounds just as off as you do. (And if they try, you will surely outnumber them).
In my Pen Women group, we have artists and composers, in addition to writers, but the topics usually come back around to writing, as we make up the majority. It is fascinating, though, to hear about a little something different, yet related. One can empathize with the artist who is having an artistic block, the photographer who can't figure out just what angle she's going for, or the composer who is about to present their work in the hopes of making it big. They may be different forms of art, but they are all artistic expressions, which puts them in the same family.
I would love to be able to pass along advice from all of you concerning what you would be looking for were this group to be forming in your area. I have plenty of opinions, but they are just my opinions. A group is made up of so many different types of people.
Please feel free to share in the comments!