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August 02, 2017

How to Start a Writing Group

At first glance, writing seems like a solitary act. Just mention the word “writer” and most people will envision a lone artist, sitting at their desk, toiling over a manuscript for months on end. And although most writers do spend a lot of time on their own, the truth is that writing is rooted in and nourished by community. Look to some of the most famous names in literary history – Hemingway, Woolf, Joyce, Shakespeare – and you’ll find that they were all members of a writing community.

If you want to grow as a writer, there’s no better way than to join a writing group. In addition to providing much needed moral support, joining a writing group allows you to draw on the skills, experience, and insights of other writers. These people become your supporting cast by reading what you’ve written, supporting you through the tough stuff, and helping you stay motivated.

So, if you already belong to a writing group, keep going! If not, here are 4 tips to help you join one – or start one of your own:

1. Find Other Writers

Head over to the coffee shop on the corner and look for people tucked away at tables behind steaming lattes, scribbling in journals, or typing on laptops.

These are your people. Strike up a conversation about writing and see where it goes. You never know who you’ll meet or where it might lead.

You can also check bulletin boards at cafes, libraries, and other public spaces. Look for postings for book clubs, author signings, and poetry readings.

Or, if you’re feeling a bit shy, just sign up for a local class or writing seminar. It’s a great way to learn new things and meet new people.

2. Start Your Own Group

Pick a time and a venue for your writing group, and have a clear vision of what your group will focus on. Do you write sci-fi? Are you a children’s lit guru? By being clear about what you’re willing focus on, you’re more likely to attract writers with similar interests.

3. Get the Word Out

Book your venue a month in advance and get people talking. Make a poster, tell your barista, tweet the details, and blog about how awesome your new group is going to be.

4. Be Consistent and Don’t Get Discouraged

Well done! You did it. Now do it again. Start planning (and, if necessary, promoting) your next meeting. The first one was probably a little rough around the edges. That’s okay, it isn’t supposed to be perfect. Being consistent is the key to creating a writing group that works for you. With time and persistence you’ll attract of community of people who want the same thing you do: to write well.

Good luck!