View Full Version : Starting a Writing Club

09-24-2009, 03:55 AM
Hi all, still new here. I recently moved into a new area to attend school, and I lack writing buddies. So I was thinking about starting a writing club at my college. I've never done anything like manage a club before, and I wanted to get some feedback from some people who may have. How did your club help or not help you and your writing? Should I invite all types of creative writing, or is that too broad to cover in a club? Only novels? Only fiction novels? Thanks in advance for your help.

09-24-2009, 04:08 AM
For the purposes of you're question I'm going to assume a writing club is essentially the same as a writing group. If it's not, take whatever works and leave the rest. :)

#1 - Lay down ground rules. This is the most important thing. Come up with a brief document that outlines how people will critique one another, so everyone is on the same page. For instance, is this group mostly about support and encouragement? Or is it more about seriously improving the craft? Neither one is "right," it just depends on what you want from the group. You should also make some guidelines for respecting one another - that critiques need to be constructive rather than insulting or personal. One rule my group has that I really like is that nobody may assume that a particular work is a reflection of the writer's life or beliefs. (For example, if I write a story about a girl who has an abortion, nobody gets to imply or even ask if I've had an abortion.)

#2 - I don't think it's necessary to limit content to one genre or area, but it is helpful if everyone has sort of the same goals. What I mean is, you probably don't want one person submitting five pages of poetry and another submitting 50 pages of a memoir. I think for purposes of critique, the best thing to do is have a page requirement - ie, everyone can submit up to 30 pages per session. Or whatever.

#3 - If you're going to focus on critiquing, you might want to have people submit a piece of work before they can join the group, to make sure they are at whatever "level" you deem appropriate. It's kind of annoying to have everyone be good with writing mechanics and now focusing on the "finer" points needed for publication, and then one person who struggles with punctuation and grammar. Not that this can't work; again, it depends on what you want.

09-24-2009, 04:11 AM
I belong to one writers' group and visit a few more in my area. Each one works differently. Most have people writing different genres and at different stages - from those who are writing for relaxation or fun to those who want to be published eventually. One of the groups sets exercises - usually to write 500 words or a poem on a set topic. The results are discussed in a fairly non-critical way. Another group I have visited is restricted to serious writers and their crits pull no punches (although they are always constructive - like AW). Another group invites speakers (unpaid) and has had editors, published authors in all genres including self-published and traditionally published.

So I suppose you'd best talk to other writers who would like to start a group. Work out what the average writer wants to get out of the meetings and see if it is possible to run such a group.

09-25-2009, 01:49 AM
Thanks! I think I'll ask some of my acquaintances and see if they would be willing to get together with me, since it's my intention to just have this be an encouragement group since I'm a 98% amateur and couldn't articulate my constructive criticism well anyway.