Writing Groups – Why join one?
This week on my blog I thought I’d talk about writing groups, the latest in my Writing Craft series. I recently joined one on Google Hangouts, most of whom I ‘knew’ virtually. It’s been great to connect with them and I’m sure my writing is improving already as a result. The other writers are based in the US so while it is mid morning their time, it’s mid- afternoon for me here in the UK. This has worked out really well for me as my working hours can sometimes dwindle a bit in that 3-4pm slump. It’s been great to have that extra dose of motivation!
If you’re not in a writing group, the NaNoWriMo website can be a great place to start. You can join a regional group with other writers local to you and you can also join a virtual writing group. I’d also recommend the Christian Indie Writers’ Podcast – there’s a great little community that chat on YouTube while the podcast airs. There’s some fantastic writing advice and I’ve made some wonderful, genuine friendships along the way.
Finally, there’s the fantastic #FriSalon chat on Twitter, hosted by author Deborah Klee. Each week focuses on a different topic. Writers answer questions and also generally chat and connect with one another. It airs 4pm GMT, 11am EST. You can find out more info here on Deborah’s website, as well as notes on previous discussions to give you a flavour.
here are some benefits of joining a writing group:
1. Writing groups provide a great community
Life can often feel isolating being an author. Writing naturally means spending a lot of time in your own thoughts and shutting out the real world to focus on the one you’re creating. I love writing and I can’t imagine not doing it, but it is nice to connect with other humans sometimes, too. Especially if you’re like me and work from home. Having a writing group feels like connecting with colleagues.
2. They keep you accountable
Writing groups are a great help to keep you committed to getting those words done. Whether it’s a group like mine and you have focussed word sprints, or you come ready to feedback about words you’ve already written, it ‘gets your butt in the chair’ as a writer friend of mine would have it. Writing groups are fantastic at encouraging you to keep on track with your writing plans and goals. Of course, it needs to be a supportive place that won’t judge you when life inevitably gets in the way sometimes!
3. Writing groups a variety of uses
It’s important to also decide expectations about what your writing group is for, as they can vary quite a lot. Mine is about actually writing words during that time, with little breaks to stretch your legs, make a cuppa or chat about a project. Or writing groups can be places where you’ve already done the writing at home, but you more share ideas and even bring along your writing for feedback. Or it could be a social time for writers in the middle of the day as a break from writing. All of these groups are great, but different kinds of groups may suit writers and their goals differently.
4. They are a springboard for ideas
It can be frustrating when something doesn’t quite gel with your work. whether it’s a plot point that’s gone awry, or you’re struggling to make your antagonist menacing, or you’re not sure how to write a query letter. Your writing group can be a great place to get specific advice, bounce back general ideas, or even just a place to vent about an annoying character. You can learn a lot by finding out about each other’s writing processes, too!
So, there are some benefits to joining a writing group. Are you in a writing group? How does it help you?
Thanks for dropping by my blog post! Why not check out my other blog posts while you’re here, including other posts in my writing craft series? You can also check out my published books and more about me as an author.
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Till next time,