All groups endure periods of change through its natural course of development. TLike its own entity, a group carries its own dynamic that shifts from time to time, and while members come and go, the group dynamic changes like an ebb and flow of the tides.
Members also change. Their expectations change as their needs develop. Eventually those needs change to something else, and they begin to ask if the group provides a new expectation.
Some people also have different needs than others. Some people prefer a freeform, relaxed atmosphere. I personally abhor orthodoxy, but some members need the defined lines they cannot cross.
This is why any group requires some form of objective and mission statement. It can change when needed, but the person or persons in charge need to outline the reasons why the group assembles. What are the goals? How do reach those goals?
Expectations from members also must be clear. Communication becomes crucial, and you, as organizer, must connect with members to understand motivations and purpose of their attendance. For members who don’t bother to even visit the website (in which they can RSVP the meetings), I remove them with a note they can join again when they’re ready to join meetings.
Groups also fail for many reasons. Miscommunications could be a leading cause, but I find its not recognizing this evolutionary course. Its not working towards the entire group, and focusing too much on only a few members. I’ve seen groups fall apart on drama that wasn’t ‘nipped in the bud’. and I will remove members who cannot work with others well enough to overcome that drama.
As with any group, its important to note that everyone plays a part. Members need to speak up while organizers need to listen, and also make necessary decisions for the whole of the group.
So here is a question for readers; What do you think is important in a writer’s group? What would be your expectation?