Chrysalis: Emerging Women Writers

April 1, 2009

Writing: It’s All About ME. ME. ME.

Thanks to I Haz A Cheeseburger

Thanks to I Haz A Cheeseburger

If You’re Not Writing, Why Do you Come to Chrysalis?

  • “Because I’m thinking about writing.”
  • “I enjoy the creative company of writers.”
  • “My parole officer says it would be good for me.” Okay maybe this one isn’t true (but it I’d like to read this memoir, wouldn’t you?)

Truth is…

there are more reasons to attend a great critique group, than simply getting input about your writing. Educational articles are emphatic in  underlining that the real benefit of attending a critique group is the learning/sharing process.

From poets, to essayest, to autobiographies to fiction, each writer carries a different voice, style and perspective.

True. True.

But let me tell you a little secret that I’ve discovered while doing some personal mining during this Lenten Season.  I’ve discovered that the thing that lights my fire  is: opportunities for ME! ME! ME!!

Each person exposes me to different research. Cultures. Lifestyles. The latest slang.

I’m learning something every second I’m sitting with all of you.

And here’s another confession. While you’re reading your piece, I’m over there, snagging your great lines, making notes about how you painted a character so I like them at their very first appearance. I’m studying you’re dialogue and wondering if I can work in “tags” like you do.

I’m borrowing your ideas so I can dissect them and stitch them back together like a Coraline doll. Do I feel guilty about that? NOPE!

I listened to an in-depth interview between John Mellencamp and Terry Gross last night on FRESH AIR (NPR).  He laughed at a question about the encyclopedia of songs he’d written. “I only have 4 songs,” he said. “I just write ’em different ways.”

And that’s why I come to Chrysalis. So you can teach me a new song.

Nancilee said it best in one of her comments about receiving/giving critiques.

“I firmly believe that in the end the words are mine, they may be influenced by your comments, but ultimately they were birthed by the author’s experience.

“So, now that I am stronger in who I am and what I want my words to express, I say, critique to the best of your experience. And I will write to the best of my “imagination and feeling.”

The hope is together we have co-created something moving, tender and alive with the humor,joy, sorrow and grief that life throws our way day in and day out.”

Yeah…that’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Why Do You Come To Chrysalis???



  1. I miss Chrysalis! Thank you for this blog!!! I feel a little bit connected, though most of you, wouldn’t recognize me if I came through the door. But I was there, for years, for all the reasons Barb named and more. Many times, it was the highlight of my week.

    I’m going to add another point, I’ve learned is important, for connecting with the energy of awesome writers. It’s to discover your Author Theme. Like John Mellencamp said, he only has 4 songs, but just writes them in different ways. He’s figured out his theme(s), it’s a simple life truth, that matters to YOU, at the heart and soul level. It can only be mined with a focus on ME, ME, ME! For example, from Roxie’s poems and Sanna books, I’d say her author theme is “irreverent delight for the magic of life”.

    And don’t we all love what she shares?

    Comment by terripatrick — April 1, 2009 @ 9:31 pm

  2. Probably the number one reason I come to Chrysalis is for the community. I met most of my close friends in this group. Even though we’re writers, the friendships extend far beyond that, and boy is it nice to hang out with people who get you at your core.

    Comment by Lisa Nowak — April 1, 2009 @ 9:51 pm

  3. Hi Terri,
    We miss you too, but understand when life takes you in a different direction. You have stated the magic of finding one’s voice and one’s truths so elegantly. Maybe that’s why the critique process is difficult? Others speak to you from the outside, but you have to know your inner voice. Thanks for the insight.

    Comment by Barb — April 1, 2009 @ 10:07 pm

  4. Yeah, Lisa,
    The community is wonderful. Perhaps it’s also intimidating to people who first arrive. They don’t feel a part of community yet. You’re good about making folks welcome. That’s so important.

    Comment by Barb — April 1, 2009 @ 10:08 pm

  5. I come 1. To get a different perspective on my stories and to get another set of eyes on my typos.
    2. Because I LOVE you guys. 3. To offer encouragement and perspective to other writers. 4. To enjoy the good stories, poetry, etc. that you are crafting. I would keep coming just for the company and the stories. I’ve been in other critique groups. chrysalis is a rare jewel.

    Oh, crap! This is like telling someone about your favorite fishing hole.

    Comment by Roxie — April 2, 2009 @ 5:11 am

  6. Hmmm….I come because I don’t have anything better to do on Wednesday? Well, that’s not true. This week I slept until 3 pm. But I come because of all the reasons the rest of you gave. Friends, community, critique, support, laughs. CHOCOLATE! And when I don’t come, I miss you. See you Wednesday!

    Comment by susanls — April 2, 2009 @ 4:36 pm

  7. Yes, Susan,
    Since Roxie, just told everyone that this is the best critique group in town, all the chairs will be full, so you’d better come early next Wednesday. And bring your writing along with your yarn.

    Comment by Barb — April 2, 2009 @ 9:46 pm

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