Dear Ms. Meniscus,What if writing group members don’t want you writing about your illness

I joined a writing group and have been writing about life with rheumatoid arthritis. I’ve been loving it but I’ve been told there are some members of the group who are tired of hearing about my disease and want me to write about something else. I don’t want to write about something else. My feelings are hurt but I would like to stay in the group. What should I do?

Wants to Write RA


Dear Writes:

Unless the group has formed some kind of an agreement regarding the form of writing, say poetry or essay, and you are not following the group’s guidelines, then it seems to Madame the very antithesis of creativity to be dictated subject matter (or in this case, dictated against it) by members of a group. Maybe the person telling you is actually the one who wants you to take on a different topic, but, who knows? Madame’s suspicion meter goes on alert when a messenger like yours shows up.

You need to remind yourself of the reasons why you joined the group and how those reasons seem to be paying off—you love it. When you love something it has a way of radiating a sense of well-being through one’s life. So if you are approached again, explain to this person that you are exploring your subject (RA) and when you are ready to change topics, he or she will be the first to notice.  If you find that increasingly different members of the group are feeling like your informer, perhaps you should speak to someone whom you trust to make sure something else isn’t at work here. Madame understands the need to release the frustration, anger and pain, but the sad thing is, people have limits, and there’s not an endless supply of compassion in the world. Madame doesn’t want you to focus on this bit of nit picking, she wants you to persevere.

Keep on writing–you know what they say…the more you do it – the better you become.