I moved to a new town recently, and I’m about to join the local writer’s group. So I started thinking about why I want to join this group and why writer’s groups are so important – not to mention a lot of fun.
If you don’t have one in your area, you can always start one. You’d probably be surprised to find out how many local writers there are.
I’ve set up two writer’s groups so I can tell you that it’s as easy as putting up a notice in your local book store or supermarket saying, “Always wanted to write? Meet likeminded people at the … Writer’s Group”.
Whether you want to write for a living or just for fun, belonging to a successful writer’s group will help and inspire you on your journey.
Benefits of a Writer’s Group
- You get to meet likeminded people
- It’s a forum where you can be inspired
- You can learn more about writing
- You can learn more about your own writing
- You can get your work critiqued
- You can have fun with writing
- There’s a sharing of writerly information so you get to learn industry news
- You get to learn about publishing opportunities and competitions
- You’re in a place where your writing is supported – and you will have people who understand to share the ups and downs of your writing journey
- You can apply for arts funding as a group and produce your own publication
Tips for running or being in a Writer’s Group
- Find somewhere comfortable to meet (low cost or no cost).
- Be democratic – find out what members of your particular group want to do and make this the focus of your activities
- Be constructive and encouraging with feedback on people’s work
- Don’t force people to have their work critiqued – they might not be ready for it
- A writer’s group is just that … a group. It’s about sharing. It’s not about power … and it’s not about any one person. Don’t allow any one person to dominate too much – have a quiet word to them if this is happening. If you don’t, you’ll find that your group quickly becomes a lot less fun, and you may lose members.
- Go on writerly excursions
- Remember, this is social too – your members are people as well as writers – building trust is very important with critique groups or partners so take the time to get to know members of your group
- Be open minded to other genre. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Just because you don’t write in a particular genre doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy reading it
- Try and meet regularly (perhaps the same time every month) so this is somewhere people can look forward to going – a place they can go for support and inspiration
- Have professional development sessions – pay to get people in to do workshops and talks. Members need to feel that the group offers new opportunities
So, what are you waiting for? If you don’t have a writer’s group in your area, go start one. Put a flier in the local book store or supermarket – ask your local newspaper to do a story – let teachers and students at the local high school know that you are starting a group.
Have you ever started a writer’s group or belonged to one? Feel free to share what worked/works for you and your group.
Good luck and happy writing:)