There are many positives to being a writer. It’s a journey of discovery, evolving creatively and building a solid sense of self. But as every writer knows, there’s a downside. Mine is isolation resulting in poor mental health. It can feel as though we’re plundering through the dark, searching for a switch that will shine a light upon what we hope is a work of literary art.
So, how do we know when we’re good at our craft? Or when our manuscript is ready for submission? When we need to return for yet another round of edits?
One of those ways is to work with likeminded individuals, offering critique, being a supportive shoulder to lean on and to congratulate when success beckons.
These are the benefits of a writing group.
There are many varying options: I’ve had great support from my online communities where I’ve found fellow betas readers. There are also Facebook groups and online forums where you can share your work and receive an honest critique.
But if it’s a more personnel touch you’re seeking, then a local writing group is what’s needed. Face to face contact has huge benefits, solving loneliness and can eventually lead to long lasting friendships. These groups tend to meet regularly for a couple of hours.
Creative writing groups are another avenue to meeting fellow writers, but maybe you’re wishing to converse with people already on the publishing route.
Maybe there’s nothing like that in your local area. Have you ever considered starting a group yourself?
Here are my top tips to consider when starting out.
Keep it small. You’ll want to devote time to each member, which requires reading through their work and offering feedback. This means keeping your group intimate. You don’t want everyone to become overwhelmed with the amount they have to read and equally you want your readers to offer enough of their attention on your work. I’d suggest six members to allow for adequate attention in the two hour slot.
Be honest. The main goal is to learn and grow. That being said, criticism should be an unbiased feedback that doesn’t result in the writer feeling belittled, stupid or attacked. Be kind and don’t forget to tell them what works.
Don’t take criticism personally. Seeing your work through someone else’s eyes can be difficult, but hopefully you’ll nurture a group where everyone appreciates negative criticism delivered in a gentle way. Support and encouragement are just as important.
Meet regularly. Keep momentum alive. This is your dream and only you can make it happen: work for it.
Are you a member of a writing group? Share your experiences, what did you learn from it. You know I love hearing from you. Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time, Much Love.