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6 Benefits of Joining a Writing Group
Going to your first meeting and reading your work aloud to a group of people might seem intimidating at first. But once you overcome your fear and get more comfortable, you’ll quickly realize the benefits of joining a writing group. When you join a writing group, you’re able to:
- Get valuable feedback. As a writer, your goal is to eventually get a story published for other people to read. As you craft your story, a writing group is a safe place to share your own writing and get authentic feedback so you know which elements are working and which ones are not. Critiquing someone else’s writing can even show you ways to improve your own work.
- Be accountable to your group. When you set writing goals for yourself, share them with your group. It’s easier to stave off procrastination when other people are counting on you.
- Receive encouragement from other members. When you get stuck, it’s easy to quit writing. When you find the writing group that works for you, other members will be supportive of your endeavor, offering words of encouragement and advice to help keep you going.
- Find beta readers. When you finish the first draft of your short story or novel, choose writing friends from your group to be your beta readers. These are people who do a read-through of your story and give feedback before you submit it for publishing. As writers, your writing peers will have good insight into the literary elements that make a great story, like structure and character development.
- Get help with your story. When writer’s block hits you and you don’t know where to take your story next, run your problem past your writing group. Navigate through slow writing times by bouncing ideas off your group of peers.
- Refine your writing process. A regular writing group can help you become a better writer. Members will be at all different levels and can share their experiences and give advice on the writing process. Some members will know how to write a great opening line while others might know about self-publishing. A writing group is a support group where members can exchange ideas on the finer points of the craft.
6 Tips for Finding a Writing Group
Whether you’re focused on fiction writing, nonfiction, or even screenwriting, having a writing community where writers support one another through the process can help you see your project through to completion. Here are six ways to find a writing group:
- Find a local writing group near you. Visit a nearby community center. They offer different types of gatherings and courses and might have a writing workshop or group that’s taking new members. Also, check the listings at your local library where people often gather for literary talks or groups. In general, writing groups have a set time and day that they meet. For example, some clubs might meet every second Tuesday of the month. Find a writers workshop that fits your schedule.
- Go on a writing retreat. Unlike most other writing groups, going on a writer’s retreat will cost money and is usually a destination event. It’s a writing-intensive place where people go to dedicate all of their time to writing and to connect with other writers. If you have some time to get away, find a writing retreat where you can dedicate a week or more to just writing.
- Join different writers’ associations. There are a variety of writer’s associations with local chapters. Connect with an association like National Novel Writing Month—NaNoWriMo—which has group meetups at local libraries. You can also find a writing group by genre, like Romance Writers of America or Mystery Writers of America. Whether you’re in New York City or Milwaukee, you can also find indie writing groups by location. For example, in Los Angeles, there is the Independent Writers of Southern California, which offers workshops, classes, lectures, and writing groups.
- Look online. In this day and age, finding a writing group is as easy as searching online. Search for a meetup group near you with other area writers. Narrow your search by genre if you want to commune with writers who have a similar passion. There are groups for authors of every genre, including groups for science fiction, romance, crime, and fantasy writers.
- Find online writing groups. If you’d rather find a virtual group of writers to work with, look online. Explore Facebook groups to connect with people over chat or video. Check out online critique groups on websites like Scribophile or Critique Circle.
- Start your own writer’s group. If you’re having a hard time finding a community, start your own creative writing group. Recruit other local writers by posting a note at a coffee shop or library, asking members of your book club to join, or posting on social media. One advantage of starting your own group is you can make it what you want. For example, you can start a general writing group that welcomes all writers, like screenwriters, sci-fi writers, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers, or you can keep it to a specific genre. Build your own community, pick a day, find a location, and start realizing the benefits of being a part of a writing group.
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