On Monday I went to my first writer’s group meeting. The meeting was held in a coffee shop and there were a lot of people there, somewhere between 25 – 30 — even they weren’t expecting that many. The coffee shop had a special area where groups could have meetings otherwise there would not have been room for customers.
Now I’m not one who likes to be around that many people all at once. It makes me a little nervous especially when everyone is chatting and it gets really loud. Basically I want to run. Since I was close to the door I figured I could sneak out if I wanted too — that is, until they closed the doors, then I panicked a little bit. But I calmed myself down and stayed put in my uncomfortable, plastic chair.
It started off with a few announcements and then there was a guest speaker. Afterward there were readings and critiques. I wasn’t sure how it all worked so I brought something to read just in case (not realizing how many people would show up), but apparently you have to notify them a week in advance that you want to read. It’s timed so it doesn’t take too long — 10 minutes to read and 5 minutes for critiques. I liked that it was timed so it wouldn’t take so long. Unfortunately the authors read quite fast (one guy was mumbling) to make the time limit so I couldn’t always understand them (which caused me to zone out more than once). They only brought so many copies of the manuscript to hand out so not everyone got one. I never got one, but that was fine by me. I was new and didn’t really want to critique anyone on my first visit.
My biggest problem with the meeting was having to sit in one place for such a long period of time. I left the meeting early — after only an hour and a half — mainly because my butt hurt so bad. I’m not used to sitting still for so long, especially in an uncomfortable chair. After about 45 minutes I was getting fidgety, moving from side to side to ease my poor, uncomfortable butt. Apparently I was the only one having problems. The two women in front of me hadn’t moved at all the entire meeting. I honestly don’t know how they did it. I suppose I could have gotten up and taken a break, but I didn’t want to interrupt anyone while they were reading. I just tried to make it through, but after 1 1/2 hours, I had had enough. I also live kind of far and wanted to get home early so I could make it to bed early. The meeting started at 6:30 pm and was suppose to last until about 8:30 or 9 pm — I took off at 8 pm.
I will probably try again in two weeks or so. They were all very nice people and I did have a nice time aside from sitting for so long. Hearing the critiques was even helpful for my own writing so I know what to do and what not to do. I think next time I’ll just take a break between readings and stretch.