View Full Version : Joining a Writers Group

07-31-2008, 02:25 PM
There are several writers groups set up in my County and I have just emailed the one in my town for details. I am intrigued to see who is there and what they do as this is a "one-horse" town - ten shops, twelve pubs and a church - so we'll see! I've never done this before so I don't know what to expect but I hope it will help me as I write in isolation. It may even give me a social life :)

07-31-2008, 02:27 PM
Oh...you'll get your social life. I was a recluse prior to joining my writing circle. Now I find myself at functions with some of Canada's top writers. I'm always blown away by how much my writing circle has changed me.

Congratulations on contacting them...I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I have.

07-31-2008, 02:50 PM
A very successful (read sells lots of books) writer once told me to join every club, join every online group in my genre, go to every event and conference I can afford. Carry cards, get a website or at the very least a web page. In other words network.
It sounds a little calculating, but she is correct in all but one. Joining an online group can be tricky.
No matter what kind of group you join, hang back. Spend lots of time sussing out the pecking order. Learn who the charter members are, etc.
Lord Kenneth Clark once wrote that heros rarely tolerate the presence of other heros.
Personally I believe the days of hanging out in Paris bistros and sharing a common dream is a fantasy writers cling to that never truly existed. Writing is a solitary job (read work). Few people aside from your agent, editor and publisher are interested in anything but the final product.

Good luck,
BTW for all my huffing and puffing, I envy you your writer's club. :)

07-31-2008, 04:06 PM
I've joined a couple of writers' groups and go to the nearest one regularly. I visit another couple in the area on an infrequent basis. I have short stories published in the anthologies of two of the groups. I've sold books in all of the groups. They are a good source of feedback and they work differently.

One group is larger and has visiting guest speakers from all sections of the industry. Another sets tasks and those interested write a one-page story or poem based on the theme. Another crits a one-page (given the previous meeting) of each other writers' WIP. So there are many ways a group can function. I hope yours suits you.

07-31-2008, 04:15 PM
If it doesn't suit me, there are others in the County and nowhere is more than half an hour's drive from me. This area is known for its poets and writers so it should be interesting.

07-31-2008, 04:30 PM
I've been fortunate to be a part of a highly supportive writers' group in my genre (the genre specifism is huge, for me) for years and years. No heroes, just common foot soldiers slogging through the same mud, only some of us are more published than others.

Maryn, co-founder

07-31-2008, 05:06 PM
Writing groups vary in their style and usefulness. It can be a good idea to try a few different ones out.

07-31-2008, 05:54 PM
I will probably try two or three of them, to see which one suits me best. *goes off to send more emails*

07-31-2008, 06:18 PM
Just as a warning: It's usually a good idea to know what you want out of your involvement with any group, particularly a writer's group. I've joined ones without really knowing what I wanted and ended up feeling very dissatisfied even though I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong and ended up dropping out with a few ruffled feathers on both sides.

The last group I joined was for social reasons, but soon discovered that all their social get-togethers were either too far from my home (read: more than 25 miles one way) or on days when I had to work so the only part of the group I could be part of was the critiquing one, which I really wasn't satisfied with. I wasn't happy, despite good participation, so I left the group (no ruffled feathers) and have much happier since.

Good luck with finding something that fits your needs and wants.

08-01-2008, 12:41 AM
I joined a writer's group about a year ago. I love it, and it's helped keep me on track. I learn a lot from them, and the differing perspectives are very valuable.

08-01-2008, 08:32 AM
I joined a writers group (Fellowship of Australian Writers, Lake Macquarie - plug, plug) about five months ago. Each monthly meeting starts with business arising from the previous meeting, usually nothing too heavy. Then we have the most amazing afternoon teas ever made in the history of man. Then we do some sort of writing exercise, or every now and then, we have a guest speaker, or some lucky people get presented with a prize.

On a different day, members meet to crit each other's work. I go to the novel writing group.

Besides being mad fun, I have learnt more about writing and improved my skills more in five months (thanks not only to the "Real World" group, but to all you champions here) than I ever did. Ever.

08-01-2008, 09:06 AM
I'm a member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (http://www.glvwg.org/) in eastern Pennsylvania.

What I get from the group is an energy that appears when writers get together. That is worth the price of membership.

Everything else (speakers, conferences, round table discussions, critique groups) is just a bonus.

Plus, it's great to be around others who understand thing like your characters not behaving, stories having a life of their own, story ideas that won't shut up, etc. My family and friends think I'm nuts when I talk about these problems. Other writers understand. It is that sense of community that keeps me going back.

08-01-2008, 07:29 PM
I belong to a local writers' group, which I joined mainly for the motivation to get back into freelancing. In tandem with personal goals it did indeed accomplish that. The other main thing that I get from it is critiques.

Socialization wasn't a primary reason, but it has become a side effect. Several people usually go out for food or drinks after the meeting, so we've all forged some new friendships.