From today onwards (for a while at least, because I’m getting so many enquiries) I’ll be posting two guest blog items on a Sunday evening and the first of tonight’s double-bill is on the topic of writing groups, and brought to you by online writer Carmen Brettel.
Tips for Finding a Writers’ Group That’s Right for You
A writers’ group is a valuable tool for every writer. A good writers’ group can offer feedback to make your work better, support to help you when you are facing writer’s block or other obstacles, and information when you have questions such as how to find out how to land an agent or submit a query.
However, if you don’t know a lot of other writers, or if you aren’t enrolled in a writing program, it may be difficult for you to find a writers’ group to join. Here are a few tips for how you can find a writers’ group that’s right for you:
Visit Local Colleges
Even if there is no formal creative writing program at one of your local colleges, you will be sure to find plenty of students who are interested in writing. Many are sure to be interested in forming a writers’ group or to already belong to one.
Check out campus bulletin boards or online forums for groups that are already going, or post your own notice to get a group started. Student groups are a good place to start if you are just starting out as a writer or if your target audience is students.
Check the Library
The library is a great community resource. Like colleges, libraries host bulletin boards that advertise local activities and resources, like citizen writers’ groups. You can connect with a diverse group of people through the local library, which may be both a blessing and a curse. You may benefit from meeting up with skilled writers, or you may find that the people you connect with don’t have complementary styles or approaches to writing as you do.
Attend a meeting or two of a couple of groups (if available) to get a sense of what they’re like before you commit to one. That way you can make sure the group fits your personality and writing needs.
Meetup.com is a great tool that connects people in your community based on similar interests. Just search for “writing” or “writer” and you’ll like find several groups in your area that bring together writers. Some will narrow the focus even more, bringing together writers of science fiction or screenwriters specifically.
Again, try out a group or two before you commit to attending one regularly. If you can’t find a group in your area — or you can’t find one that fits your needs — go ahead and use the site to start your own.
If you can’t find a group that meets where you live (or you can’t find one that you like), there are plenty of groups that meet online. Try searching the forums of your favorite writing sites and checking the classified listings. Post a message asking other writers to tell you about their favorite online groups.
Of course, if you can’t find a recommendation for a group you like, you can always use these forums to reach out to other writers and form your own group. There are no shortage of writers’ sites or writers that frequent them, so there are plenty of opportunities to connect with other writers online.
Finding a writers’ group can help you to improve your writing by getting valuable feedback on your work, encouraging you when you hit a stumbling block, and guiding you toward useful resources. These are just a few of the ways that you can find writers’ groups in your area or online.
Do you belong to a writers’ group? Tell us how you found your group in the comments!
Yes, please do. I run two and belong to two others, I hearty recommend them (and I belong to three Meetup groups!). You can read an article I wrote a while back about how Meetup came about. Thank you, Carmen.
Carmen Brettel is a writer and manager for Studentgrants.org, where she has recently been researching fine education grants. In her spare time, Carmen enjoys gardening and volunteering at animal shelters.
If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.
‘How to Eat (or write) a Book: Probing the Pros and Problems of Prologues’ by urban fantasy author Lauren Grimley follows later this evening, then the blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with poet Jeanne Buesser – the five hundred and thirty-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.