Writing groups are often essential to becoming and staying a successful writer. Writers are a solitary group, so writing groups give writers a chance to socialize and receive much needed feedback. Writing groups can be online and offline. You can start your own writing group to help writers in your area or to focus on specific types of writing.
Type of Group
Determine if it’s in your group’s best interest to be an offline or online group. Offline groups require setting up regular meeting times and having a location to meet. This also provides writers with a chance to actually meet other writers instead of sitting at home or the office. Online groups provide more flexibility, but don’t provide the same level of socializing.
In addition to offline or online, determine the focus of your group. Will this be for all types of writing or just a specific genre? This is important so that the right type of writers join your group.
Once you’ve decided what type of group you want, it’s time to advertise. If you created an offline group, you must have a set location already established, such as a community center or library. Local colleges may also be an option. For offline writing groups, place advertisements at local libraries, colleges and grocery stores. Also place an ad in local newspapers. Provide potential members with the time, date and meeting place. Also provide a contact number for anyone interested in joining that may have a conflict. This will allow you to tweak the group later on if possible in order to gain more members.
For online groups, post ads around your community as with offline groups. Post in any writing forums that you’re a member of. Post information on your blog or website about your group. For online groups, you’ll need a website with a chat room or forum. The website can be free or paid hosting.
Establish Set Guidelines
Your writing group must have set guidelines in order to be successful. Some possible guidelines include how to share each other’s content, how feedback is given and how frequently members participate. Establish what is allowed and what isn’t. For instance, constructive criticism is a great thing, but constant negative feedback doesn’t help anyone. Encourage your group to be friendly and helpful to others instead of seeing each other as competition.
Any successful writing group needs stimulation. Prepare activities for your group. These can include reading and analyzing the works of professionals that apply to your group, assigning writing prompts, creating works as a group and rant sessions to relieve stress. These activities give writers a reason to continue participating in your group and provide ways to help writers grow.
Writing groups are a great tool for any writer. With all the writing groups available, it’s important for you to advertise and focus your group. Provide guidelines to keep your group’s writers on task. Also give your writers a reason to stick around by providing activities that everyone can enjoy and benefit from.