Wagner Writer

Hi you!

First off, happy birthday to me!! OK now on to business 🙂


I haven’t shared much about my writing lately, so I figured I’d get everyone caught up.

First off, a nonfiction article I wrote was published online a few weeks ago, yay!!! If you haven’t seen it, check it out here:


The site, The Write Practice, was created to help writers perfect their craft. It has ranked on many “top writing sites” lists for three years running. From what I understand, they have hundreds of members and the site has had thousands and thousands of views. So I was really proud to be featured on the site.

All in all, my article got quite a few viewers and a decent number of comments, so I’m happy with it. It’s also a “real” piece for my writing resume. Boo ya! I’ve submit two other article ideas to them and hopefully they’ll get published as well. Wish me luck!

Other than that, the other notable thing I wanted to talk about are the writers’ groups in Phoenix (because that’s been a big part of my life lately).

In Page, I was the one who started the lone writers’ group, so I pretty much led every session. I really loved it, but I was a beginner and didn’t feel qualified to critique people. I think every member was in the same boat, so we shared info then spend the rest of the time praising each other.

After doing some research prior to the Phoenix move, I knew a lot of different groups existed here. And some of them were run by honest-to-God writers. The idea made me nervous but, in order to get better, I promised myself I’d join a group once I moved to the city.

So I wouldn’t give myself time to make excuses, I attended my first meeting practically the day after moving. It was fun: I was trying to get everything set up and then the printer ran out of ink so I only brought one copy of my work that everyone had to share. Unfortunately, that group turned out to be kinda lackluster. The membership was small and I didn’t learn much.

That brought me to writers group numero dos.

The second group I attended was much larger (and seemed better organized) so, for my first session, I brought a piece I was really proud of. I thought it was one of my best examples and I was all upbeat and excited when I read it.

The members of my group then proceeded to TEAR. IT. APART.

They were very nice about it and offered some amazing criticism. But I admit I wasn’t expecting it, so the old ego took a nice hit. The drive home was pretty sad and I debated how to proceed. Afterwards, I sat back, thought about it, and decided they were right. Not receiving criticism like that, I’d gotten complacent in my work and forgot a lot of tips I’ve practiced over the months.

Once I got over myself, I forced myself to a different – but just as professional – group the very next night. And I got some amazing feedback there as well. It was an exercise in overcoming fear and accepting critique.

Over the past month, I’ve actually gone to four different groups and am happy to announce that I’ve found two I really liked. They each have about 20 members and we divide up and critique each other’s work. Everyone brings something, and everyone offers critiques.

(NOTE: Now that I’m seeing how a “real” group works, I’m pretty proud of our Page Writers’ Group. The way we ran the meetings was pretty similar to how these work. Unlike the meetings here, we actually taught lessons on better writing, which was cool. The only real difference is there are more serious writers in these groups and they offer some serious critique. The newer writers also have great comments and everyone is encouraged to provide feedback.)

OK now that you’re up on the writers’ group circuit, I wanted to put on the fun hat and share some of my favorite tidbits:

1. The average age of each group is about three hundred. It turns out retired folks love to write. And, more often than not, their work is very good. I shouldn’t be surprised. Cormac McCarthy is like an Egyptian mummy by now and his stuff is amazing.

2. One lady, who’s about eighty and seems very proper, sat down to read aloud a few weeks ago. I thought she was writing a memoir and had already stereotyped her.

The first sentences of her book excerpt went something like this:

“And I was like f*** you, Jimmy! And he was like kiss my a** you f****ng p***y!”


Her book is dirty! And it’s hilarious to hear her. She’s come a few times and, every time she reads, she apologizes to everyone. Sometimes, she’ll stop and apologize in the middle of a sentence.

3. People bring all kinds of stuff to these writers’ groups. So far, I’ve listened to someone’s memoir, romance, adult fiction, fantasy, young adult fiction, and random poetry. I have virtually no experience with poetry so that was really awkward. The group values everyone’s opinion and I was like “Ummm… you used words. And there were lines. And there was a point to the poem. And it’s in English.”

4. Writers’ groups are awesome! Seriously. Everyone interested in writing should join a group. I’ve only been going for a month, but I’ve already received amazing feedback. I’m editing sections of my short stories and latest book based on what I’ve heard. And I think it’s really going to make my stuff better.

If you’re scared of sharing your stuff, don’t be. The group isn’t all professional writers. There are people of every skill level. And everyone has been very supportive. I’m even thinking I can get some beta readers out of the group once I attend more.

5. I’m a nerd. My birthday is today and, instead of celebrating, I’m going to writers group. YEAH!!

Leave a Comment