Five reasons to be in a writing group

I joined a writing group a couple of years ago. It’s called The Last Sunday Writers because we usually meet the last Sunday of the month. Today’s meeting was cancelled because of lack of a quorum. Only two of us plus our leader planned to attend, and we weren’t prepared to read this month. So what’s the point? I usually want to read at the meetings, but I’m still a little traumatized from the feedback from my novel beta readers. I need to give putting myself out there a rest for a while. However, I’m very glad I was invited to join. I had known several people in the group because we attended workshops together. Or if we hadn’t met before we had worked with the some of the same writing instructors in the past. So we are a well-knit group with similar goals: continue to write, get feedback from our fellow writers, and network.

Five things I like about being in a writing group are:

  1. It encourages me to prepare a piece for review once a month: this can be a new essay, story, poem, article, or like I’ve done for the last year, a chapter of my novel. I learned the importance of working toward a deadline in my 30-year day job managing and producing proposals. Deadlines are important in preparing to read at a writing group as well.
  1. It keeps me from working in a vacuum. I like that I have a group of writers I can turn to for advice on issues pertaining to writing, publishing, marketing, editing, places to showcase our work, and upcoming conferences and workshops. Every month I come away from our meeting with a list of resources to follow-up on.
  1. It gets me out of the confines of my office. Although I love my office, I sit in here way too much. I can go hours at a time without leaving my desk chair. So a break to attend a writing group meeting is always welcome. I also like attending writing conferences and my writers society meetings. I feel it’s important for me to get out there once in a while. Networking is just as important as writing.
  1. It trains me to give instantaneous constructive criticism. We read our work at the meeting unseen by any of us before hand. writing group2 So we have to listen carefully and be able to provide objective and helpful criticism on the spot. Being the recipient of critiques also helps us in forming our own critiques of another writer’s work. I know I’m sensitive to negativity, so I suggest saying something positive first is important. I also think it’s important that all of the people in the group share their work equally. A person who critiques and never shares is not a full member of the group.
  1. I admire our group leader. Our group always meets at our leader’s house, so there is never a question about our venue and the time of the meeting. She makes sure the rest of her family is out of the way while we’re there; thus, our comments stay confidential and uninterrupted. This is so much better than meeting in a public venue where we’d have to shout to be heard. Our leader starts our meetings off with a short writing prompt just to warm us up, and she serves us lovely things to eat and drink.

I’m sorry to miss my writing group next month. However, I suspect I’ll be fully ready to read and critique the next time we meet The Last Sunday of August.

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