A few years ago I remember posting on my blog seeking a writing group. I was looking for something online because I was working full-time and going to school full-time.
I knew a writing group would help me with my writing, but I didn’t know where to start. I had no idea where to look for such a group.
The day after I posted something on my blog about it, my dad ironically found an article in the newspaper. Our local library was putting together a writer’s critique group. Kris and I looked into it and we joined immediately.
We’re still part of that group to this day and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I’ve always heard pros and cons about joining a writer’s group, but I’ve found it to be more helpful than harmful. So, here some reasons why I think every writer should join a writer’s group.
1. Editing Skills
When I first joined my writer’s group, I was taken aback at the feedback I received. When I read their pieces my thought was, “Wow! This is really good!” I liked all the stories and I wanted more. I didn’t really have too much to say because I couldn’t find any mistakes.
But there are always mistakes. There are always opinions. What did you like? What didn’t you like? I’ve learned a lot about editing over the past few years I’ve been part of my group. I know the right questions to ask and know what to look for when reading someone else’s work.
2. Writing Skills
Just like editing, you learn a lot about writing as well. As you read the work of your fellow writers, you’re looking at different writing styles and ideas. You learn from one another to help with your own writing process.
Stuck on something in your writing? Feel like something isn’t working out or you have writer’s block? Ask your group members for their opinion on what you should do next. They’ll help generate ideas and then you can pick and choose and try out the different ideas because deciding what to do next.
Writers aren’t the best at being social. Having a group of writers is great because it gets you out of the house and gives you social interaction with other humans. Not only do you find a great community of writers, but you’ll also make new friends as well.
Have a blog? Share it with your group. Finally getting that book deal? Throw a party with your group. Your writing group members are most likely your first fans. Plus, you can bounce promotion ideas off of one another as well.
6. Self-Confidence & Thick Skin
When I first joined my group and submitted my first piece I was nervous. I’ll admit, there was a sick feeling in my stomach when people told me what they liked and what they didn’t like about my work. Taking criticism is hard to get used to. However, there will be people out there who absolutely love your work and there will be people who think you’re a terrible writer. Everyone has their own opinions, their own tastes in books.
Your writing group will be honest and help you along the way. Through that, you’ll gain thick skin in taking criticism as well as gain self-confidence in your own work.
Sometimes it’s hard to keep writing. Having a deadline to submit something to your group can either help or hinder that motivation to write. For me, it usually boosts my motivation to keep writing. I want to keep up with the members of my group and I’m also excited to share what my novel has in store for them next.
8. Writing Time
We all complain that there’s not enough time in the day to get our writing done. Having the deadline of the group will help with that. In a way, it’s kind of like homework and you end up making sure you find the time to get that writing done.
Are you part of a writing group? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments below!