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Monday, August 24, 2015

Writing Groups

Writing is a solitary activity, done largely in a vacuum. We create scenes, dialog, and whole worlds in our heads. We craft them into stories that we put down on (virtual) paper. And one day we hope that someone will read our stories and hopefully enjoy them.

But writing is hard. It takes a long time (for most of us). And after a while we get so close to our work that we don't know if our story comes across the way we hope it does. We can't be sure if what we did say makes any sense. That is why writers seek feedback.

One way of getting feedback on our writing is to join a writing group.

There are as many types of writing groups as there are writers. But generally, it's a place where we can submit our work to the critique of the other members while offering our critiques of their work in return.

It's supposed to be a safe place to put our work out there so that we can improve it. The trick is to find that right fit. We all want that place where we can be our crazy writer selves and have others understand our particular neuroses.

This week I'm discussing writing groups. I'm no expert as I joined my first one not quite a year ago. I hear that I'm pretty lucky to have found a good group of writers, but I think that we can all be that lucky if we know what to look out for and are willing to get as much as we can out of the experience.

What's your experience? Do you belong to a writing group? Do you want to join one?


Chrys Fey said...

I've always wanted to join a writing group but I don't know how to find a local one...or know if there even is a local one. So I'll be tuning into your posts this week. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've never been a part of a group although I have several dedicated critique partners.

Diana Wilder said...

I'm another one who would like to join a writing group. When I first signed up with NaNoWriMo, I looked for groups in my area and found... Nothing. Online groups might be a possibility... Well, in fact, they are. But nothing yet.

Charity Bradford said...

I've been blessed to be part of a wonderful group for the last 3 years. Our numbers ebb and flow, but when we get together it's always a blast. My writing has improved greatly because of the feedback given and received. We always read our stuff out loud to each other and then sit through the comments. Sometimes we just ask to use our time as a brainstorming session for something we're stuck on. We've had write-ins for Nano, and this year I will actually go on the writing retreat with them. Can't wait for that!

Jax said...

I don't belong to one, but mostly due to the lack of time. I love to write and I always say journalism is my "dream job". I agree with everything you said here regarding writing groups. :)

Liz A. said...

Chrys: That was one of the reasons I didn't join one for a long time, too. I'll have some suggestions on how to find one in your area tomorrow.

Alex: Feedback is the key, so critique partners are great.

Diana: I hope there are some groups in your area. You could look into starting one ;)

Charity: We submit our stuff online, and we're all responsible for reading before we meet. Whatever works...

Jax: The trick would be to find one that only meets once a month or something.

Botanist said...

I belong to a brilliant online group - CritiqueCircle.com. Another good one was Critters.org, though I haven't been active there in years. I find that in-person groups are great for support, but they tend to say what the writer wants to hear rather than what they need to hear. The distance afforded by going online lets people be more blunt. That can be hard to take, but immensely valuable if you can get over the pain :)