23 August 2019

Creating a Writing Group

Written by Sarah-Maree

If you read last week’s blog, you may already know what topic I’m covering this week. If not, welcome! This week I’m covering a question I’ve received from a few different writers. In particular, I was asked if I was in a writing group. When I said I had created one after leaving one I felt was a bad fit, I was asked what it took to create one. Specifically, they wanted to know how to make a group that works well together and accomplishes the goals of a writing group.

Before I go too far, I’d like to point out that the writing group I had joined wasn’t a bad group. What they had worked for them, but it wasn’t right for me. That being said, the same may be true of the steps I took in making my own group. It may work for me, but it may not be exactly what you’re looking for. The five of us in my group meshed well together, but we’ve had our own fair share of people who have joined and left.

One last thing before I jump into the steps, I wanted to go over how my group works. First, we have the goal of writing and improving our writing. We meet one to two times a month face-to-face. There we discuss what we felt worked, didn’t work, or inspired us in another member’s writings. After that, we pick a time to meet again, I create a Facebook event on our Group Page, and then we set some goals for next time. When the meeting’s all done, we go our separate ways and during the two-week gap, we work on our goals. We also read what the other members post. This is done in Google Drive where we can share our work privately with shared files / folders. Having our work there also allows us to leave comments or questions as we go. This is particularly helpful in that it works with all our schedules.

Now here’s a breakdown of the steps so you can find what works for you!

  1. The first step to creating a writing group is to figure out what your goals are. Without goals, the group can become easily distracted as talking digresses away from writing.
    • That being said, it’s also important to have someone capable of returning conversations back to the task at hand as it’s inevitable that conversation will drift. Writing comes from experience, and as those experiences are shared, it’s practically inevitable that talk will turn to how the writing relates to a personal experience.
    • Some goals may include writing a chapter a week with an end goal of finishing a book. Having a group can keep you motivated and on task.
  2. With a goal in mind, the next step is to decide what genres you want to work with.
    • It’s alright to change this later but having a starting genre scope helps. My group has a variety of mixed genres including fantasy, sci-fi, YA, romance, urban fantasy, anthropomorphic, etc. This works for us but having one genre for the whole group can be helpful too.
  3. After thinking about that, it’s time to decide on a method. This decision involves choosing if you want to meet face-to-face, Skype, converse online (like with Google Docs), or a combination of the three.
    • This is particularly important for keeping things both organized and productive.
  4. The next step is to find other writers who are interested in joining your group.
    • There are plenty of ways to find other writers, including talking to them online first.
    • If you’re going for a local group, going to a local library may be best. There are often writing groups already available there, and where there are groups of writers, there are likely writers not interested in the group they’re in. That means, they may be interested in joining yours, particularly if you can articulate what you’re looking for in a group (the above steps can help with that).
    • Libraries are also great in that they can provide resources for hosting a writing group. This could be rooms, tables, chairs, internet, etc.
  5. Once you have your goals, your structure, and your writers the next step is to keep it all organized.
    • I found that creating a group on Facebook worked best for us as I was able to create events. The page also worked as an inspirational outlet where we could all share motivational writings or tips and tricks we found. It also worked as a great place to store different resources like scam sites, a list of agents, what publishers are looking for authors, etc.
    • Having a consistent meeting time / place will help as well. For example, my group meets every two weeks if possible. This gives us time to write a chapter (hopefully) or a short story. It also gives us time to read and comment on the writing other members have contributed.
    • Setting goals for the next meeting can also be helpful in keeping things organized. Some goals could be: Write a chapter, edit a chapter, write a short story, work on a writing prompt, or to read everyone else’s work they’ve shared – if you have an online place you have the work shared.
  6. And finally, have fun! You’ll have created a group of writing buddies that keep you motivated and that you help motivate. When the group meshes right, it can be a really great thing.

Photo Credit: Andrea Davis

About the Author

I may not be the nerdiest nerd you’ve ever met, but I still like to think of myself as a lover of science, video games, and of course, books.


Read plenty, read often

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