I decided to start my own group with the objective of allowing anyone who writes into the group. Some authors might argue that the expanse of differences in genre and skill won’t work, that the diversity is too broad. I disagree. In fact, its the very differences of skill that enables feedback and advice be shared by all.
Feedback– Taking the form of constructive criticism, feedback enables members to share their work knowing that other writers will nudge and encourage them to hone their skill, keep at a manuscript, and provide insight they may not have considered. They can read the manuscript with ‘fresh eyes’.
Community– Other writers understand all the trouble the hobby develops such as writer’s block, character building, grammar, and everything else that falls under ‘writing troubles’. Sometimes our group becomes a support group, encouraging those who feel frustrated or that they have no skill. The group also serves as a network, sharing what combined experiences and knowledge of writing from various genres and skill levels.
Learning – We occasionally have workshops by our members for things like ‘How to make Ebooks’, or “Creating an Author’s Web Site”. More often, we simply discuss and share what we know such as copyrights, publications, rejection, and the other aspects of the writer’s life. I never leave a meeting without learning something new.
Finding a writer’s group can prove a difficult task. Check local bookstores and libraries. Look up what they have local at http://www.meetup.com or Google the area to see what writer’s groups are available to you. Read what they are looking for in a member. Some are specific to Science Fiction or Fantasy, while others might want writers only in non-fiction.
Forming your own writer’s group requires a friendly face, a willingness to take charge, and a bit of effort to find other writers. I like the Meetup.com site. As organizer, you’re required to pay money. Another alternative would be Yahoo Egroups, Zoho.com offers some online collaboration, Google groups, and other sites provide a means to either start a group online, or enhance your offline group to the Web. Reads the Terms of Service, however. Some writer’s groups online will take your copyright of anything you share through their site.
Its important you engage members to share and question and add comments. Find activities such as freewriting exercises or writing prompts to get everyone to see what they can do ‘on the fly’. Make it fun! Discourage putdowns and focus on constructive feedback.
Its easier than you think to form your own group, and its well worth the effort.