The Benefits of a Writing Group
A writing group can be an invaluable tool for a writing, helping with everything from sticking to a regular writing schedule to providing feedback, but a good one can be difficult to find. A good writing group is an organized and focused affair, but most groups tend to be poorly managed exercises in frustration that can do more harm than good. Luckily, starting your own writing group is always an option and with a little effort and organization you can avoid most of the problems that plague other groups.
Pictured at left: a writing group hard at work.
The first step to starting a writing group is to make some decisions about what sort of group you would like it to be. Some things that should be considered include genre, project length, and schedule. Do you want to focus on a specific genre of writing or remain flexible? Will you want to with short stories, novels, poems, or some combination? How often do you want to meet? These are some of the basic things to consider during this initial planning process.
After that, the next step is to begin advertising for members. Bulletin boards, social media, and other platforms can all be used to spread the message. The important thing is that the message contains all relevant information, while staying short and simple. Don’t forget to include your contact information!
One thing to consider as members begin contacting you is the size of a group that you’re willing to manage. In the early stages, a writing group will rarely have enough members for this to become a problem, but something you might want to consider is requesting writing samples to determine if potential members will be a good fit. However, you should try to keep in mind that things like strong technique, unique style, or an original voice will always be less important than qualities like enthusiasm, dedication, and a good-natured response to criticism.
Once you have your members, it’s time to start the much trickier task of leading your writing group. Fortunately, while this can be quite a lot of work, there’s some simple tricks and techniques you can use to prevent drama and cut down on your workload. So, join us next time when we discuss how to lead and manage a writing group. Until then, stay safe and keep writing!