writing groups

Writing Groups: Everything You Need To Know

Writing is frequently a solitary pursuit despite how enjoyable and rewarding it can be. The reality is that writing can be an isolating endeavor for authors. Motivation and accountability can be challenging to maintain when working on a one-person project. There is a variety of writing groups that can assist you when writing. 

You can find answers to your questions and discuss the nuances of your writing life with people who genuinely understand what you’re saying in writing communities. If you’re a new author with no prior experience with writing groups, the following are the essentials you should know.

8 reasons to join writing groups

Joining a writing group is an excellent way to connect with like-minded people. A space to exchange resources, collaborate on projects, discuss the craft, and maintain motivation. Your writing group members may see your work through to completion, and they may even become lifelong friends on your path to becoming a writer. Joining writing groups offer a variety of benefits to authors.

1. Inspiration

Reading possesses the capacity to inspire. When you read the work of someone similar to you in terms of living in the same area and writing in the same genre, it only takes one person to impact your writing significantly. 

One person with whom you can openly share your writing and discuss it. Sharing your passion with other humans from writing groups will undoubtedly broaden your horizons.

2. Accountability

As with any other professional, a writer requires accountability to stay on track with deadlines and project completion. Having writing groups can assist you in remaining motivated to write daily for your book. Working with a writer’s group can help you stay on track when you’re easily distracted by work, family, and other responsibilities.

3. Constructive criticism

Sharing your work with others and soliciting feedback will provide you with an opportunity. By examining your work and providing you with their candid opinions, advice, and feedback, writing groups will be able to tell you where your strengths and weaknesses lie. You’ll learn a lot here that will ultimately help you become a better writer.

4. Professionalism proof

Membership in formal writing groups that will benefit you when it comes time to submit query letters and cover letters to agents and editors. It demonstrates that you have developed a network of contacts, are committed to writing, and have honed your skills with the assistance of accomplished writers in your field. It increases your chances of securing a publishing deal, which is always a positive development.

5. Knowledge

Writing groups can assist you in developing new story concepts, receiving feedback on your work, and even overcoming writer’s block. As a writer, you’ll benefit from becoming knowledgeable about various writing subjects. 

You can overcome writer’s block if another group member has written something similar to what you want to write. Joining a writer’s group can help you develop skills that you can apply to other areas of your life.

6. Encouragement

When you’re stuck in the middle of a story or unable to choose between two possible endings, there is always a source of inspiration. You can enlist the assistance of your writing groups to assist you in writing the best possible story.

When groups of creative people get together, an interesting thing happens: they quickly become a second family, always there to offer support and boost your morale when you need it most. You’ll make new friends who will support you through all of your writing challenges and successes and the highs and lows of life.

7. Networking

Numerous writers with varying backgrounds and skill levels congregate in the same writing group. And many writers will agree that assisting other writers in accomplishing their writing goals is an enormously rewarding experience.

Writing groups will gladly assist you in achieving success by providing you with resources, connections, helpful information, and well-known names. Joining a writing group can mean distinguishing between being an unknown author and becoming a published author. It’s one of the group’s most valuable assets.

8. Tonality development

Reading aloud and sharing your work in writing groups will assist you in developing and strengthening both your voice and writing. For instance, you may discover that your dry wit is advantageous in writing. Finally, your rage or eye-rolling habit may possess redeeming characteristics. If you keep these findings in mind, you can begin incorporating them into your writing regularly.

Attempting to make people cry or, more broadly, to make them feel better is a possibility. What if you’re unsure whether you can communicate a highly complex concept in a way that the general public can understand? Perhaps you’d like to try integrating all of your senses into your work. Practicing reading aloud in front of a group is an excellent way to develop the unique voice of your writing.

How to find writing groups

writing groups

If you’re a writer working on a novel, a nonfiction book, or even a screenplay, having a supportive writing community can help you complete your project. The following are some of the most effective methods for locating writing groups.

1. Consult your local community centers 

Even if you only associate your neighborhood community center with the annual craft fair, you may be surprised to learn that it also offers various other services, such as writing workshops and finding writing groups. Visit the websites of your town or city’s community centers to learn about upcoming events. You might be able to locate a local writing group that is a good fit for your needs.

2. Attend a local writing workshop

You may aspire to be a writer but believe that your writing abilities need to be improved. Enroll in a local writing class if you’d like to improve your writing skills. If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to learn to write, consider enrolling in evening classes at your local community college. 

Enrolling in an online college or university writing course allows you to complete assignments from the convenience of your own home instead of physically attending a local writing class.

3. Go on a retreat

In contrast to most other writing groups, a writer’s retreat is typically a destination event that requires a significant time and financial investment. Those who wish to devote their entire time and energy to writing may visit this location. If you have some spare time, find a writing retreat where you can spend a week or more entirely focused on writing.

4. Submit your work to critique sites

By joining online writing groups, you can obtain a second opinion on your work. It’s difficult for writers to be objective about their work, especially after months of work on a manuscript. If you intend to submit your manuscript to agents or publishers, you must first share it with others.

5. Join writing groups on Facebook

These days, writing groups on social media may be the best place to meet new authors. On Facebook, you can connect with local and international writers groups. Take note of the number of daily posts made by groups you consider joining. 

These are the Facebook groups with the highest likelihood of members participating frequently. Each group will establish rules and policies to guide members toward productive discussion.

6. Search writing message boards

Message boards are an excellent resource for connecting with other writing groups, seeking advice from others, and researching agents and publishing houses. Message boards can be an invaluable source of information and a way to connect with like-minded individuals for both novice and experienced writers. 

Additionally, conducting research on agents and publishers via message boards can assist you in learning how to write a query letter and what to expect after signing a publishing agreement.

7. Take part in writing conferences

The number of conferences dedicated to the craft of writing continues to grow exponentially. While the stereotype of writers as hermits exists, this is not always the case. To begin, you should attend a reputable conference. Second, you become acquainted with regional authors. 

They may extend an invitation to you if they like you and are members of writing groups. As a result, writing conferences are an excellent venue for meeting potential writing group members. Ensure that you get along with these people, as you will be spending a lot of time with them. 

Those initial interactions may not be optimal for a group of members who do not connect. On the other hand, a favorable first impression is a positive sign. You’re more likely to stick with a writing group if you get along with the other members.

8. Create your own writing groups

If you cannot locate a group of like-minded individuals, form your own. Posting a notice in a coffee shop or library, inviting your book club members, or utilizing social media can help you recruit additional local writers. Establishing your own band allows you to do whatever you want with it.

When forming writing groups, you can focus on a particular genre, such as science fiction or fantasy, or on a more broad category, such as screenwriters or novelists. Create your own writing group, select a meeting date and location, and begin reaping membership benefits.

How to start your writing groups

Receiving feedback from other writers is a fantastic way to improve your writing skills. You can learn a lot from fellow writers, whether you’re a novice or an experienced pro. You can start your own writers’ group to establish yourself as an expert in your field and build a supportive community. By following these guidelines, you can form successful writing groups.

1. Define your objectives

Writing groups come in a variety of shapes and sizes. While some groups focus exclusively on promoting one another’s work, others meet regularly to discuss their work. Members are occasionally asked to read and take notes on one or two writing submissions before meetings.

Certain organizations require members to submit an essay at each meeting and allot a small amount of time. Before joining a group, it is critical to be candid about your career stage and the type of environment that will work best for your personality. After determining the kind of group you wish to form, the next step is simple.

2. Construct rules and expectations

The smooth operation of any writings groups is contingent upon its structure. Create a profile for your group that includes a mission statement and an exhaustive list of the rules that govern your group. Determine who is eligible to join, the minimum level of writing experience required, and the level of commitment that members are expected to demonstrate. Establish guidelines for selecting members and their formal roles within the group.

Establish group-wide behavioral expectations and guidelines. Set clear policies and procedures for distributing submissions and feedback, for example. Determine how feedback will be delivered before you begin—in person, via written markups, or a typed report. Establish a framework for assessing your work. You can determine it through consultation with team members or by developing a model that will work best for your team.

Regularly providing feedback on another person’s work is one of the most challenging tasks. It is possible to establish a system in which all members critique one another’s work or only members who wish to receive criticism do so. Determine whether and how much time you will spend on member critique at each meeting.

3. Market broadly but precisely

Local Facebook groups can be an excellent resource for publicizing your new organization. Distribute flyers and posters in local coffee shops, libraries, and other public spaces. Additionally, you can send an email to any university or college with a creative writing department and regional arts organizations, with all pertinent information included.

While an open-ended writing group is acceptable, make it clear in any advertisements or calls for submissions that you are particularly passionate about or opposed to a particular genre or style. Look for members who have a similar skillset to yours.

4. Decide on meeting date and times

Choose a location that is easily accessible to the majority of participants. Libraries and bookstores in your neighborhood make excellent meeting spaces. Numerous writers’ groups meet in members’ homes to save money. Establish a meeting date and time and a regular meeting schedule so that group members can plan accordingly.

Additionally, establishing meeting ground rules is a prudent move. Clearly define acceptable behavior and group preparation guidelines. Establish a schedule in advance to keep the meeting on track. You’ll want to arrive at your writing groups prepared with all the necessary supplies.

5. Mix things up

Some individuals may be willing to email a writing sample to be read and critiqued a week before the next meeting. You are not required to read the selections aloud to the group; you may immediately begin discussing them after they have been read. Then some will skim a few paragraphs in exchange for a few seconds of specific advice or simply ask a few general questions without actually reading anything. 

Ascertain that no member gets away with repeatedly doing the same thing. Occasionally, suggest a writing session: the meeting will begin with an hour of collective writing by all attendees, followed by a five-minute reading period and a one-minute round of feedback from the other attendees.

6. Monitor your group

Monitoring your writing groups’ performance is critical. Even if you have followed all of your rules and regulations, some members may be dissatisfied. Perhaps the timing is inconvenient, or some deem the commitment unaffordable. Make it a point to solicit feedback from members regularly to ensure that the group meets their needs.

Because no one is ever pleased, it is critical to embrace criticism and keep an open mind throughout the process. If you notice a decline in the membership or activity of your group, you may wish to consult with its members. Make the necessary adjustments to restore order to your writers’ group.

7. Prepare yourself to lead

If you conceptualize the idea and organize meetings via email, members of your writing groups may look to you for leadership. For example, prepare yourself for starting and ending meetings on time or signaling when to move on to the next piece of writing. If that proves difficult, consider appointing a more outgoing team member as the spokesperson, even if you remain heavily involved behind the scenes.

Five tips on handling writing groups

Whether your group is new or has been around for a while, the following tips will effectively help you manage your writing groups.

1. Create an inviting environment

Making new members feel welcome and secure in sharing their work is critical to the success of writing groups. It’s vital to recognize that everyone, even the most accomplished writers, is intimidated by the prospect of submitting their work for critique. As the group moderator, it is your responsibility to extend a hand and make newcomers feel welcome.

2. Be attentive

Take notes as you read your group members’ work, noting any questions, suggestions, or compliments you may have. When critiquing, be specific, praising a vivid description or making detailed recommendations for additional character development. 

Avoid, however, telling others what to do and instead focus on assisting them in making choices. If you are uncertain about something or believe specific details are missing, request clarification or additional information. After that, gently suggest to the author that their response be incorporated into the narrative.

3. Moderate constructive criticism

While most group members of writing groups act in the group’s best interests, not everyone is as adept at fostering a positive atmosphere. When it comes to criticizing others, you must establish ground rules. Each critique should emphasize areas for improvement while also highlighting positive aspects. Consistently end on a positive note.

4. Allow time for self-reflection

Every year or so, take a break from the feedback to discuss whether the group is working for everyone. Does a single voice dominate the critique? Are meetings becoming unnecessarily prolonged? A reorientation of the emphasis is required. 

Decide as a group whether to take a break and reconvene with a new focus or whether some members wish to depart to make room for new faces. New members bring new perspectives to the table. It is perfectly acceptable to leave a group or form new writing groups.

5. Create a contact list

A contact list is especially critical if the meeting schedule for your writing groups is unpredictable. You must ensure that all group members are contactable in the event the group is unable to function for any reason. 

Collect email addresses and phone numbers through social media, or carry out the entire operation through social media. Additionally, you can use this list to share writing tips and other non-business-hours events.

Frequently asked questions

Here are the answers to some of your frequently asked questions about writing groups.

What are the best online writing communities?

The following are some of the most excellent online writing groups.

Absolute Write Water CoolerWith over 68,000 members, this is a sizable and active community. There are threads here for every genre imaginable.
AgentqueryAgentQuery is an excellent resource for receiving feedback and critiques. If you’ve made a significant step forward in your writing, this is the community for you.
Critique CircleCritique Circle provides precisely that. Feedback should be an integral part of any writer’s process.
ChroniclesThe Chronicles is another writing community, but this one is mostly about science fiction and fantasy.
RedditMore than a single writing community, Reddit is home to a slew of subreddits where writers of all genres, interests, and levels of experience congregate.

Are there any cons to writing groups?

As with any group setting, writing groups have some drawbacks. There may be personality clashes among artists who are all extremely passionate about their work. Critique is not always delivered or received in the most favorable manner, which can cause tempers to flare. 

Then some writers believe they are more accomplished or experienced than others, and rather than using that experience positively, they project it onto other group members, causing friction.

At all times, it is critical that you carefully select your groups. Ascertain that it has a clear structure and objectives that will enable you to determine in advance whether it meets your personal writing goals. Above all, if you decide to join a writing group, keep in mind that you have the option of leaving if you feel uneasy.

Final words

It’s difficult for authors to persuade people to share their enthusiasm for their craft in their daily lives. While those who read and support your work when you are published or reach a significant milestone are admirable, those who genuinely support and assist artists daily are those who share their passion for art. 

Writing groups can help writers develop a sense of community and belonging. Everyone has common interests, and they are almost always willing to lend you the support they lack in the outside world—as long as you reciprocate.

Discover the 17 Steps to Creating a Best-selling Business Book

Scroll to Top