How To Start A Writing Group

By on June 10, 2017
How To Start A Writing Group - Writer's

Writing groups can be an ideal way for writers to meet other creative people,  receive useful, constructive feedback on their work, to keep motivated, get inspiration and build up a network of support.

Writing groups can take on many different forms. It could be that you organise a small group of local people who meet up in a cafe or go for a drink. It could be that you start an online group and get hundreds or even thousands of members who join.

If you think you would benefit from being in a writing group, why not start one of your own? If you aren’t sure how here are some handy tips to get you started.

Be clear about what you want from the group

Before you even try to find people to join you think about why you are setting up the group and what you want to get out of it. If you don’t have a clear purpose and aren’t able to communicate what you are trying to achieve to other potential members, it will be hard to make your group seem appealing.

Sort the practical details

Where are these meetings going to be held? How regular will they be? Will you have an agenda or more of an open discussion? What time are you planning to hold the group discussions? All these factors will make a difference into how effective your writing group will be, as well as  hoe many and what kind of members you attract.

Make some rules

Having some rules in place about what is expected of members is important to give your group some structure and make it as effective as possible. Will you all be expected to bring a fresh piece of writing each week? Will members be obligated to share their work? Will you have a time limit as to how long people can spend on each piece of writing? Will you take it in turns to bring tea and biscuits?! Also, make sure you have some guidelines in place about giving feedback. Perhaps you’ll share your work beforehand so everyone has time to properly gather their thoughts, will you allow members to say exactly what they think or advise that it’s better to be kind and encouraging in their comments?

Will you charge a fee?

If you are paying out for a venue and refreshments to host your group you might want to charge a fee to keep your personal costs low. If your group is virtual you might want to consider how much time you will spend overseeing it - you could charge a membership fee and therefore be compensated for administering and running the group.

Get out there and let people know about it!

Advertise your group on social media, on local bulletins, on relevant writers forums and even in the paper! Obviously, the amount of time you spend promoting your group will affect how many people join, if you want to keep numbers down you might want to start small by asking friends and colleagues and promoting through word of mouth rather than pouring your heart and soul into a national advertising campaign!

Be prepared to tweak

Your first session may highlight some problems in organisation, with the venue or with how your group is run. That’s OK - just make sure you pay attention to what works and what doesn’t, get feedback from your members and work together to see how it could be improved.

Starting a writing group is an awesome and proactive step to keep you motivated, improve your writing, gain valuable feedback, and make some great friends too! Use these tips to start your writing group and remember, above all else, it should be fun!

]Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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