What do three memoir writers, two young-adult science fiction writers, one romance writer, a biographer and writer of fiction, a skilled oral storyteller, and a talented artist have in common?
These nine women comprise the SMCC, otherwise known as the Saturday Morning Coffee and Critique. Ranging in age from 80 to 47, they gather every-other-Saturday to discuss the nuts and bolts of writing. Some are native Californians. Others hail from the Midwest, and one was born in Greece. There are teachers in the mix, the musically inclined, one who lived on a sailboat, and the prerequisite dreamers. Underdogs are their heroes; also, vampires, outer space aliens, and real-life mountaineers. They've authored books about difficulties overcome through determination and grit, and chronicled life changing events worth celebrating.
Stumbling upon the SMCC in mid-2010, I was thrilled when they took me into the fold. Being the “new kid on the block,” I tiptoed over their threshold. Since all writing groups are not created equal, I entered with bated breath. As writers we're supposed to be thick-skinned, but having suffered through my share of miserable critiques, my skin couldn't have been any thinner.
At the time, I was in the process of eeking out my first attempt at a novel. The group shared their input, and I listened. I found their feedback to be edifying; their gentle suggestions gave me just enough food for thought without inciting a flare-up of gastritis. I returned to my keyboard with a renewed eye, grateful for their insight and wisdom.
It has been said that writing is a lonely craft; also, that writers should resist the urge to share their work with spouses or significant others. To discover a group whose love of writing parallels my own is a dream come true. “We are all interwoven and create each other's universes.” So says author and teacher Natalie Goldberg in her book, Writing Down the Bones; Freeing the Writer Within. I believe that a writing group should be a positive resource, creating a universe that's conducive to the craft.
I don't think it'd be much of a stretch to declare: the SMCC is all that and more.