Writing for some is a hobby; for others it’s a way to make a living. Either way, writing is one of those things where we spent many hours holed up alone behind a computer. Writing is indeed something that is done in solitude for many reasons. I won’t go into detail why, but the thing is we should not write alone; we need to interact with others in the writing process, so we can grow as writers.
One way to interact with other writers is to join a writer’s group. I’ve been with one for nearly two years, and I can tell you that without it I probably would have given up on writing all together. Now some people hesitate in joining groups, since many believe that they do not wish to share their writing until it is published. While I respect those individuals, it is still a good idea to join a group whether you’re a beginner or a professional writer. Writing groups can do the following:
- provide a way to meet other writers with different abilities and styles
- offer feedback for your own work
- educate you about the writing process and the publishing industry
- make new friends and get out of the house
- provide workshops and seminars
With so many writing groups out there, how do you know which one you should choose? Unfortunately, there are some bad writing groups. My very first writing group, whose name shall remain anonymous, was less than great. While the group leader was published and offered good advice, that person only liked certain genres and did not hesitate to tell someone if his or her work sucked – I was one of those victims, and as a result became discouraged in my own writing. I guess that individual let their personal views get in the way of their judgment. The exact words from the leader were, “This will never sell, and you need to write a story about a car chase.” With that I left the group, and it was the best decision I made for my writing career. Choose a writing group that offers the following:
- a leader that is supportive that offers constructive feedback; one that welcomes writers of all genres and levels
- a group that meets offline as well as online
- allows every member a chance to voice an opinion as well as ask questions
- offers a variety of sessions (not just a weekly critique session). One that offers a general critique session one week, and a guest speaker the next. Also the group should focus on certain themes (developing a reader audience, etc.)
- is active; this group should have at least one meeting per month.
- MAKES WRITING FUN
So get out there and join a writing group today. You’ll be glad you did!