I cannot overestimate how important my writing group has been to me. Over the last several years we’ve listened to and critiqued each other’s work, and our meetings have been an impetus to keep writing. I have no doubt that without my writing group I would not have finished two books, nor would I have had the motivation to self-publish. Check out our group blog, Every Other Minute, and you’ll see that although we’re a diverse group of writers, we all have one thing in common: we love to write.
How do you find a writing group? I was fortunate enough to have been asked to join one. I’d taken a local creative writing course and our last class was a public reading at the library. Two members of my writing group attended and afterwards approached me and asked if I’d like to join them. I knew them vaguely from around town, but if they’d been complete strangers my answer would have been the same: Yes!
You’re probably thinking, Great, I have to wait for someone to ask me? Of course not. You can be the one doing the asking. Start with your area libraries or adult education centers to see if there are existing writing groups. If not, start one. The important thing to remember about writing groups is that you don’t want a collection of friends who are willing to listen to your writing, you want a collection of writers who are willing to critique and be critiqued. There is a learning curve to critiquing. You have to be able to simultaneously listen, make notes, and keep track of the many facets of a good story – plot, character, pacing, etc. But it’s extremely worthwhile joining or creating such a group, because you’ll keep each other motivated and focused on your goals: putting your stories out there for others to read and enjoy.