I was reading my email a few days back when I saw something from an old friend. In the acknowledgement section of my book, I mentioned the San Diego Writers’ Group. Before I met them, I was just some guy writing a bunch of words. I had a lot of ideas and ambition, but I didn’t really know if I had the talent to be an author. So I trolled the internet looking for a writers’ group and met Allen. Saturday marked the last meeting of his group. Allen chose to move on.
He was a man who was patient beyond believe, driven beyond measure and kind beyond words. He and the members of that group were the first people who weren’t closely related to me or married to one of my relatives to show support for me. They gave criticism when it was needed, praise when it was earned and, most of all, encouragement.
I really should get back with a writers’ group for so many reasons. It’s just hard because I don’t know what would have to happen for a group of people to compare to those I still miss down in San Diego. Even when my life was more than I could handle, they gathered around me and supported me. They kept me writing and let me ramble.
When I found out their group was closing up shop, it felt even more sad than I’d imagined. This was home for me as an author. A lot of people don’t understand what it means to be surrounded by like-minded people who are all motivated to be creative. It didn’t matter to them if you just wanted to write or if you wanted to be a best seller. They welcomed anyone. That sort of openness is rare.
I couldn’t make it to San Diego to say by to Allen or wish him luck on the next phase of his life. But I don’t know if I’d be here now if it weren’t for him and that group. I asked him if I had what it took to be an author, and he answered, yes. I think about them every time I’m writing and wonder if what I’m writing is any good. I think about them and just wonder how they’re all doing. I peek in on a few members of the gang now and then, but not as often as I’d like.
The simple fact is they’re a wonderful group of people, and I’m sad to see the group disband. I wish Allen all the luck in the world, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart for all he did to encourage me and dozens of others to just write.
For those authors out there, I’ve heard writers’ groups are a big help to the goal of publishing. I don’t personally have the data to support that, but what I do know is that I was never more productive than when I was a part of that group. Find a writers’ group. Start one. Surround yourself with people who motivate you to chase your goals. Allen and his group did that for me.
One last time. Thank you Allen. My best to you and all of the gang.