© 2009 Marylane Wade Koch
Writing is not a team sport. Sometimes writers feel alone in pursuit of their writing goals. Even close friends or family may not relate. Where can writers turn for support, encouragement, and feedback from other writers? The answer may be to join a writers’ group.
Writing groups come in a variety of types. Some are support groups where members share writing goals, hear guest speakers, and learn skills to become published authors. Some groups offer critique, where writers present their work and receive feedback from other members. Some meet in-person while others meet online. Some groups specialize in poetry, romance, or mystery while others welcome any genre. Some meet weekly, others monthly. Some groups have many members, some just a few. Some have dues, others are free.
Selecting a group is an individual preference. In-person writing groups promote personal relationships among members with common interests. They provide social interaction with others on a similar journey. Over coffee, writers can enter discussions and receive feedback on their ideas. Online Internet groups offer diverse opportunities without the constraint of geography or meeting times. Some writers join both in-person and online groups.
To locate a writing group, explore local libraries, bookstores, or colleges where groups often post meeting information. Check community announcements in newspapers. Visit national professional writing organizations online to discover local chapters. Find in-person and online groups though a search engine such as Google or Yahoo with key words like “writing groups” or “writers’ groups.”
Consider the goal/mission of the group, average attendance, frequency and location of meetings, and dues or fees. At the meeting, evaluate the following:
- Does the meeting focus on writing or on socializing?
- Are the members writing, submitting, and publishing?
- Are the members positive about writing and learning?
- Do members welcome newcomers?
- Do members leave the meeting inspired to write and submit?
The writing journey can be more fun and productive when shared with others. If a group is not available in a given area, the writer can always start one!
LINC Memphis area (Keywords “writers clubs”)
Memphis Writers http://www.memphiswriters.com
Organizations/online groups http://www.forwriters.com/groups.html
American Christian Writers http://jameswatkins.com/acw/acwchapters.htm
Amy Foundation group list http://www.amyfound.org/writing_resources/church_writing_groups/active_groups.html
About online groups
How to start a writing group
Marylane Wade Koch has over 30 years of experience in writing, editing, speaking, coaching, and consulting. Koch has authored numerous articles and several healthcare books. She is a contributor to publishers such as Elsevier-Mosby, Harcourt Health Sciences, Delmar/Thompson-Cengage, F.A.Davis, Jones and Bartlett, and Salem Press. She is a contributor to the Chicken Soup anthology series. Koch serves as President of Byhalia Christian Writers and conference faculty for American Christian Writers. She is a member of the American Medical Writers Association and the Mississippi Writers Guild. She serves as adjunct faculty at the University Of Memphis.