Writing Tip: Reasons to Join a Writer’s Group

image of a writer's group

Image credit: Lulu.com

I recently joined a writer’s group organized by my local indie bookstore. I felt like it would be a great opportunity to network with other nearby authors and get feedback on my work.

After some months and numerous critiques, I finally feel comfortable blogging about it and advising that writer’s groups are a great way to improve as an author.

Critiques

Each writer in my group has similar but different goals. The shared commonality is personal improvement. I can’t stress enough how quickly your writing can improve with constructive criticism from people who are engaged in the same difficult work as you. A writer’s group can provide a varied audience who are at the perfect “degree of separation” to provide honest feedback. They are more familiar with you than strangers on the internet, but have more distance than friends and family who might try to protect your feelings.

I’ve recently had a few short stories picked up for publication, and I directly attribute that success to the valuable critiques I received from my group.

Encouragement

Every writer’s path is different. What works for one author might not for another. There are no silver bullets, and that can be tough to accept. It’s good to have a tight knit group going through the same trials and tribulations with you. It provides understanding ears to gripe about rejections, and voices to celebrate your successes.

Insight

Writing and publishing is COMPLICATED. I’ve written about some of the most common publishing avenues available, and there are an overwhelming number of choices, services, potential scams, and opportunities across the landscape. Insight from active writers who are living this stuff alongside you is invaluable. A short conversation among a writer’s group will probably yield more insight than any paid “How to Publish” course you can find on the internet. The writer’s in my group are all at different stages, and everyone is able to provide useful tips and info to each other.

Love of Books

I’ve been turned on to new authors and books I’d have never known about, just by being around like-minded writer’s who are passionate about reading. It’s a wonderful social atmosphere to get suggestions, or have fun and engaging conversations about books.

For all the reason’s above (and more) I highly recommend writers of any level seek out a group. Keep in mind they are not without challenges! I believe anytime a group of creative people get together, there will be up’s and downs. I would also strongly encourage you to join an in-person group, rather than one on the internet. Writing is a solitary exercise, and the face-to-face interaction, along with the relationships you’ll build with other local writers are worth the time and effort.

Are you a member of a writer’s group? If so, what has your experience been like?

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16 thoughts on “Writing Tip: Reasons to Join a Writer’s Group

  1. Rebecca Moon Ruark says:

    Yes, congrats on the story pubs! I also find an in-person writing group to be very helpful. I’d add that the members within a writing group don’t have to write in the same genre to be good for each other. I’m in a group with a couple sci fi writers and a children’s lit writer. I write neither of those things, but they’ve been great critical readers of my work. Hopefully, they’d say the same about me. Plus, they’ve turned me on to genres and writing styles I wouldn’t have encountered on my own.

    Liked by 2 people

    • B.L. Daniels says:

      Thanks Rebecca! Yeah, I’m in a very similar situation. Many different genres, and not only do I get interesting reading suggestions, it really challenges my critical reading and editing skills because I’m evaluating work that is outside my normal comfort zone.

      Like

  2. Rob Fike says:

    I should probably look for an in-person group. I recently joined a couple of Facebook writing groups, and they are… well… they’re toxic. Sparse encouragement, mostly people making themselves feel better by being rude to others. I guess a lot of the internet is like that, but I had hoped for something a bit more. I love that you shared your experience. It has inspired me to seek out a face-to-face version! Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • B.L. Daniels says:

      Hi Rob, thanks for reading and commenting. Yeah, social media is a tough venue for writer’s groups. I found some success with the site Critique Circle, and their community is generally positive,but their “token” system for earning crits leads to some feedback of varying quality. It’s tough to beat actual face time with a regular group. Social media and your local library to find other writers in your area who might want to form a group.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a Sham says:

    Congrats on the publish!

    I have a writing group that formed during NaNoWriMo and it has been extremely helpful. We bounce ideas off each other, encourage writing and crit it too (if you’re up for it).

    Mostly, it reminds you to keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thelyricsgirl says:

    i’ve searched through pages and websites on the internet looking for a group of writers but after awhile i got discouraged. i felt there was no one out there, but reading your post got me motivated to find myself a writing community. thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. cdaveler says:

    My experience with groups vary drastically. Chemistry is so important, and sometimes even two very intelligent people don’t work well together. Conversely, having someone who isn’t too experienced, but who “gets you” can be invaluable. Personally, I use workshops and groups often to shop around for readers to work with on an individual basis because so many of them don’t read the whole thing and have time to take in and critique the larger picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    • B.L. Daniels says:

      Agreed. I glossed over “chemistry” in my post, but it’s extremely important. Not all writing groups are created equal. I was lucky enough to find a great one that makes the time to regularly critique, and give thorough feedback. I find having at least 5 people to provide “group consensus” helps identify specific issues in my writing since I know it’s more than just the opinion of one person. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Like

  6. richiebilling says:

    Great post! I think writing groups are an absolute must. Constructive feedback is invaluable.

    I’ve been quite lucky in having a friend who also loves to write, but I know it’s not easy to put together a writing group of like-minded folk. It’s important to feel comfortable sharing work with them—a stepping stone to the wider world. But proactivity pays off, as your local bookstore proves.

    And congrats on the publications! There’s many lows and few highs in this game, and every high must be savoured.

    Liked by 1 person

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