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A writers' group is just what it sounds like. Most of these are local groups advertised in local newspapers, but some may be online groups or writers' forums. Writers can meet others who are interested in writing either as part of a career or as more of a hobby.
There are specific writers' groups such as those for science fiction writing, copywriting or screenwriting. But, many writers' groups are for all types of local writers to join. Most writers' groups don't have an entry fee and meet in a public place such as a community center or coffee shop.
The person who advertised the group usually runs it, contacts interested writers and prepares the activities. Activities at a writers' group may include readings of the writers' own works as well as writing exercises for the group. Writing exercises can be fun, creative, a good way to break the ice and they can help to create a relaxed, friendly atmosphere for the group.
Some writers’ groups may meet at an event such as a brunch that features a guest speaker. This can be interesting if the subject is something that matches the general interests of the writers' group as a whole. Discussions often follow speaking events.
Presenting work at a writers' group can be a good way to get public speaking practice as well as see how others react to your writing. Writers in a writers' group should be given ground rules as how to properly critique the work of others in the group. The idea is to encourage all writers and constructive feedback should be the goal after both writing presentations and responses to writing exercises.
Some writers' groups have both online and offline components. For example, the group may meet weekly in person, but also have online forums where members can sign in and leave comments. Exercises and reminders may be left on message boards and writers who are unable to attend a weekly meeting can let the group know in advance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the primary purpose of a writers' group?
A writers' group is designed to provide a supportive community where writers can share their work, receive feedback, and improve their writing skills. The primary purpose is to foster a collaborative environment that encourages personal growth, accountability, and the exchange of ideas. Members benefit from the diverse perspectives and experiences of their peers, which can be instrumental in overcoming writer's block and refining their craft.
How often do writers' groups typically meet, and what is the usual format of a meeting?
Writers' groups commonly meet on a regular basis, which can range from weekly to monthly, depending on the group's preferences and goals. A typical meeting format includes time for discussing writing challenges, sharing work-in-progress, providing constructive criticism, and sometimes writing prompts or exercises. The structure can be informal or structured, with some groups choosing to have a rotating facilitator or specific agenda for each meeting.
Can joining a writers' group improve my chances of getting published?
While there are no guarantees, joining a writers' group can significantly improve your writing and increase your chances of getting published. According to a survey by The Write Life, many authors attribute their publishing success to the feedback and support received from their writing communities. A writers' group can help you polish your manuscript, understand the publishing process, and even provide networking opportunities with industry professionals.
Are there any online writers' groups, and how do they compare to in-person groups?
Yes, there are numerous online writers' groups that cater to different genres and writing levels. Online groups offer flexibility and accessibility, especially for those with busy schedules or limited mobility. They can provide similar benefits to in-person groups, such as feedback, accountability, and community, but may lack the personal connection and immediacy of face-to-face interactions. However, for many, the convenience and broad reach of online groups make them a valuable resource.
What should I look for when choosing a writers' group to join?
When choosing a writers' group, consider the group's focus, such as genre or writing style, to ensure it aligns with your interests. Look for a group with a positive, respectful atmosphere that values constructive criticism. The level of experience of the members can also be important; a mix of beginners and seasoned writers can offer a rich learning environment. Finally, consider the group's size, meeting frequency, and location (or online platform) to ensure it fits your schedule and preferences.