A writing group can be a great way to improve your writing and get your books published. Once you've gone over the pros and cons on writing groups and determined that a group is what you need, these tips will help you find the right one for you.
Elements of a Good Writing Group
To be successful, a writer's group should have these elements:
- Members give a good mix of criticism and encouragement.
- When giving feedback, members identify the underlying problem rather than saying how saying how they would fix the issue. Go ahead and give an example or two, but don't rewrite the entire scene.
- All members speak the truth, although they speak with kindness. Belittling and personal attacks are not allowed.
- Has at least one more experienced member who has actually published a book.
- Follows the feedback method described in Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull, President of Pixar and Disney Animation:
- "Truly candid feedback is the only way to ensure excellence. When giving notes, be sure to include:
- What is Wrong
- What is Missing
- What Isn’t Clear
- What Doesn’t Make Sense
- A good note is specific. A good note does not make demands. Most of all, a good note inspires."
Joining a Writing Group
Before you go looking for writing groups, make a list of what you are looking for. Do you want help with general writing questions, or with genre-specific questions? Do you want to meet in person or online? Do you want a more structured writing group, or a more informal, discussion-based group?
Next, you're ready to look for writing groups!
Your city library probably hosts a community writing group that you could join. If you look up the name of your library, followed by "writing group" the page with additional information should pull up.
In social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or Goodreads, search for terms like "writer's group," "indie writers," and "writing community" to find a writer's group. Some of these groups meet only online, and others may meet locally.
Another option is writer's associations (some of these you'll find on social media, too). Many of these associations have local chapters, so you can meet in person. These associations have the advantage of having many members with more experience, as well as training sessions, conferences, and speakers, but they do charge yearly fees.
Meetup.com is a great way to find local groups that you can meet with in person. Just put "writers' group" in the search bar.
Start Your Own
If you can't find a group that interests you, pull together your writer friends and start your own group!
Have you joined a writing group? Which one and how is it working for you? We'd love to hear in the comments below.
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