This post, from Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen, originally appeared on her Quips and Tips for Successful Writers site on 5/14/09.
Starting your own writer’s group will be a breeze with these tips from my own experience! Whether you’re a freelance writer, aspiring novelist, or published poet – a writer’s group can keep you motivated, disciplined, productive…and published!
I mentioned my writing group on Twitter, and received several “I wish I belonged to a writer’s group, but there’s none in my area” or “My writing group disbanded – and I really miss it!” responses. So, here are my tips for starting a writer’s group.
Before the tips, a quip:
“If you don’t feel that you are possibly on the edge of humiliating yourself, of losing control of the whole thing, then probably what you are doing isn’t very vital.” – John Irving.
Fellow scribes, a writer’s group will help you stay grounded as you teeter on the edge of losing control and possibly humiliating yourself! For more info about writer’s groups, click on Writing Alone, Writing Together: A Guide for Writers and Writing Groups by Judy Reeves. And, here are my tips for starting your own writer’s group…
But first – the benefits of a writer’s group:
- Information-sharing, which leads to growth
- Inspiration from successful experiences
- Support for rejections and feelings of failure
- Encouragement to keep going
- Feelings of solidarity and connectedness
- Feedback for your writing, article ideas, or plans
- Accountability for your writing goals
7 Tips for Starting a Writer’s Group
1. Decide on the best place to meet. My writer’s group started in a classroom at our local elementary school and moved to our homes (we rotate through the members’ houses). We’ve also met in the pub, which wasn’t as comfortable as a home. Other great places for writer’s groups to meet include the library, an uncrowded coffee shop, or a spare room in your local community center.
2. Be clear from the beginning about the structure of your meetings. Will you read your writing out loud, and will everyone give feedback? Will you email your story, article pitch, or book proposal before the meeting? Will you write during your meetings (that wouldn’t work for me – but it may be appealing to writers who struggle with motivation or time to write)? Will you brainstorm story ideas or wrestle with plot problems?