Benefits to Joining a Writing Group

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?

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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.

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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.

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

Until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

44 thoughts on “Benefits to Joining a Writing Group

  1. I’ve been part of a few critique groups. I’ve enjoyed the company of others. The first sadly disbanded after members left. The leader of the second kicked me out. I started my own, but we’ve been on sabbatical due to members’ scheduling conflicts. I’m hoping to get it started up again now soon.

    I’m also a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association, which has been wonderful and helped me make many beneficial connections.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It is a big difficulty.

        The kicking out followed a bad day with distractions and communication via social media, and it was the leader alone – none of the other members had a say in it, though one later blocked me everywhere following another situation where she felt I was getting too close and still has me blocked. All my attempts at apologies and getting a second chance at both were futile. If nothing else, I learned there are people like that and the importance of respect for other members.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! Definitely amazing perks here, and great tips. ❤
    I was part of one very briefly that I had to leave due to my days of work changing in the week, but I got a glimpse into just how insightful it would've been. x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love writing groups. I’ve been in multiple ones due to moving, and each type has offered its own benefits.

    The biggest advantage for me has been accountability. When I attend groups, I know people are going to ask me about the progress I’ve made or what I’m working on, so it is motivation to get things done!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I would love to be a member of a writing group in my condo building. That way we could stay in touch during the winter months (everybody hibernates) and get creative at the same time. Any suggestions for finding/starting a group?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s sounds like a great idea, everyone under one roof.
      Check social media, research on the internet and places like your local library to see if there’s something already in place. And if not, create flyers and put your own advertising up on social media… that’s what I’m doing-I’ll let you know in due course if it yields any results.
      Good luck!

      Like

  5. I know you’re talking about local, in-person, writing groups. However, there are many online critiquing groups out there. For several years I’ve been a member of Scribophile.

    It has advantages and drawbacks, but overall, it’s a good place, especially if you don’t have a local place to meet. There are some editors who are members there, a lot of talented amateurs who are very good and some green novices who are just learning.

    I started out green as grass, but I’ve learned a lot during my time there. They have free membership, but it has its limitations. Paid membership is the way to go if you can swing it. Much more perks including being able to choose who is able to see your work.

    Check it out if you haven’t already. If you do, look me up.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve always wanted to join an in-person writing group — I don’t know why I’ve never thought of just making one! I especially love the reminder that I’m the only person who can make my dreams happen, and if I want it, I have to just go for it and create opportunities. Reading your posts always puts a big smile on my face. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. 💕 Since writing this post I’ve met four new writers at a group aimed at business women. And they’ve told me about a local bar that poets and writers attend. It’s amazing what can be achieved when we set our minds to something.
      Let me know if you have any success in finding or starting a group.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. When I was still in England I did consider a writing group, even found a few though they all met during the day in the middle of the week. Not great if you had a regular job. I like the idea of them, I’m just never sure I’d get over my anxiety enough to go

    But I know a few people who go to groups and swear by them, so I think anyone considering it should definitely give it a try and these are excellent points to consider

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally agree, without the online writing community I would be very much the isolated, lonely writer.

        Support from a group, online or off, is invaluable these days for a writer

        Liked by 1 person

  8. bethness12

    I would love to be a part of a writer’s group, but I live in a small city and too few take writing seriously without wearing their feelings. Consistency is an issue for any group, and honesty, even delicate, kind, diplomatic honesty can be taken poorly. I struggle for a group to assist with feeling like I have a place to fit, but it does not seem to be here, and I am 2 hours from a large city that would have real groups. I loved your article, but I’m afraid such a group is not maintainable at my location.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s nothing near me either, however, I’m hoping to start a group soon.
      I think the online community is just as beneficial, I’ve made some fantastic friends who give honest criticism.
      Thanks for stopping by. 😊

      Like

  9. I was briefly a member of a writing group years ago. Unfortunately I was like a rabbit caught in headlights, I didn’t feel like I had anything to contribute, probably because I had little to no confidence. But this is a great post 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can relate to this. I’m sure that experience has tainted the idea of future groups. Sometimes it’s all about finding the right group of writers, ones that we feel comfortable around. This allows confidence and bonds to grow.
      Thanks for stopping by to read, and thanks for commenting. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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  11. Jo Lamb

    I belong to a writers group which is a little different. At Writers Abroad, we are all expat (or ex ex-pat)writers who have come together because it’s difficult to access face to face groups in the countries where we live. We have an online community where we ‘meet’ for support, advice and guidance and have been going for over 10 years! Some of us have managed to meet in person but not all. It has been one of the most valuable resources I have in my tool box.

    Liked by 1 person

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