Writing Community Series: Benefits of a Writing Group

 

Why Join a Writing Group?

There are so many benefits to being in a writing group!

I am an extremely shy introvert. So, joining not one, but two, writing groups was perhaps the most difficult, terrifying thing I’ve ever done. My goal is to be a good writer though. I don’t want to embarrass myself by publishing something that is terrible, so I must get feedback from other people.

I found my first writing group through Meetup. (I’ll talk more about how to find a writing group later in this series.)

I went to the coffee shop and saw a bunch of people together with laptops. I figured that was the group, but I was too scared. I sat at another table with my coffee and spent the next 20 minutes working up the courage to go over and ask if they were the group. Then I was brought into the fold.

Sounding board

Writing groups are an excellent way to throw out crazy ideas and see what resonates. Your group gets to know your characters. They get to know you and how your brain works. When I ask my non-writer friends about an idea, they quite often just agree with me. They are far too nice. Because my writing group friends know me so well, they are not afraid to tell me when an idea is too far out there. Plus their knowledge of writing allows them to explain why an idea may or may not work for readers.

Collective Knowledge

My writing group has a diverse group of people with many different backgrounds. (medical, historical, technical, teachers, and more) They are an invaluable resource for when you have questions and need educated opinions. Together we help each other solve countless problems and plotholes in our stories.

Feedback

The feedback from my writing group is the most valuable. Many readers will read something and tell you if they like it or not. They can’t always accurately tell you why the writing works or what is broken. A good writing group will have the knowledge to tell you why something is working or not. I have learned so much from their feedback, and I believe I’m a better writer because of them.

Accountability

My critique group is particularly good at this. I feel the need to have something to present to them. I could go and just listen to others read, but I prefer to have something to share. My social group doesn’t put on any pressure but will ask what I’ve been working on lately. It is more fun if I do have a current project to talk about with others.

It is Fun and Energizing

Speaking of fun… The most important reason for being in a writing group is because it is fun. I write because I enjoy doing it, um, most of the time. It is not as fun when I paint myself into a corner. When I get in that situation, I’m tempted to toss the whole project. My group not only helps me fix it but gives me the encouragement I need. I have a major case of I’m-not-good-enough. They help me keep everything in perspective.

For my social writing group, we quite often sit around and talk about our characters, or talk about life in general. We laugh together. We vent. We cry together. We worry. We compare notes. We celebrate. All of this is energizing and often provide snippets of inspiration so that when I get home I feel like staying up all night writing.

 

 

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3 Responses to Writing Community Series: Benefits of a Writing Group

  1. mstturpin says:

    I love the writing groups, and I have found that I need different things from them at different times, but I agree that one of the most important things you get from a writing group is accountability. There are times when I’ve put off writing and I feel guilty when I go to a group and I have nothing to share. They are a great motivator!
    I am enjoying your blog, I’d like to hear your views on writing prompts and exercises in a group setting. I always freeze and wind up doodling while everyone else writes!

    Like

    • I’m so glad that you are enjoying my blog!
      I have not actually done any writing prompts in a group setting outside of a writing class I took about a decade ago. I remember I didn’t hold up well under the pressure to perform in a set amount of time and with people around.
      However, I have found prompts useful when that group setting pressure is off. I have several short stories written as a result of those prompts or exercises inspiring a story.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I recently joined a writing group that is less of a ‘workshop’ group and more of a social group for writers. We get together and talk about what we are working on, what things are blocking us, and just bounce ideas around. It is fun to get together and commiserate For me just having a group that checks in on my progress is awesome.

    I am hoping to join up with a more ‘workshop’ type group as well. Though, I’m not quite ready for it.

    Like

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