How to Have an Effective Writing Group

The works you've written are numerous, ranging from short stories to even the novel, hidden in a storage bin (under the bed) collecting dust. But there comes a time when you must wipe away that dust, regain your pride, and prepare your babies for publication! But, how do you get such a critical, unbiased eye to analyze your works, offering both praise and criticism?

It's simple-start a writing group!

Creating a writing group is the easy part, but creating a functioning and beneficial writing group can be quite a task.

Writing groups are age-old sessions where writers obtain helpful evaluations for their works. Nowadays, though, writing groups seem to be a fad, and for many a status symbol reassuring them of their writerdom. Don't create a writing group simply for the sake of saying, "I belong to a writing group". Create or join a group because of the numerous benefits that come along with them.

  • Keep Number of Members Limited. You don't want just one other person in this group. So shoot for 3 or more members. On the other hand, you don't want to have 30 people in the group either. Try approximately 8-10 members. If one person leaves the group, replace that person with a new recruit. Keep the same standards for all members. Make it standard that members can only join by an invite. Allowing your group to be very exclusive brings the group more pride.

  • Select Randomly. It's okay to have a friend in this group, but you chose to create this writing group for unbiased opinions. So don't allow ALL the members to be your best friends in which you see on a daily basis. Perhaps one member is 18 yrs old, while the other is 35. Keeping age, sex, ethnicity, and educational levels of your group will allow a diverse critique-which is ultimately what you're seeking. A diverse group will only make you and the group much stronger.

  • Meetings. We're all struggling writers, so most often the other members of the group will have jobs to attend. So finding an appropriate time for a meeting is crucial. I've found that one Sunday per month, after 2 p.m. is great. Make it an odd time. Creating times such as 2:07 p.m. will stand out and allow members to remember. Where are these meetings held? Keep switching locations. Allow the members to rotate the location to each of their homes. If homes are not available, then a select person should discuss where they choose the next meeting should be held. This is the reason membership should be limited to a few members. It's much easier to meet with just a few people.

  • Text. Focus your group on either poetry or prose-try not to mingle the two. If the text is prose, and the writer wants his novel critiqued, suggest that the novel be submitted on a "per chapter" (or two) basis. Don't overwhelm the members with too much to read at one time-or you'll end up with no members. The month before your work is critiqued, each writer should submit photocopies of their manuscript to each member.

  • Know your intentions. Make sure that, for the most part, members have similar goals: to be published or for sheer enjoyment of writing. This will eliminate time wasted if you know this upfront.

  • Critiquing. When critiquing the text, encourage the members to speak as if the writer isn't present. In the meanwhile, the author can sit back, take notes, and write down questions the critics may have posed. Encourage the critics to write on their versions of the text before meeting. Allow approximately 20 minutes to discuss each member's work. Upon completion of the critique, critics should give the author their "corrected" versions. Complete the critique by allowing the author to explain any unanswered questions and to thank the critics.

    If members can't keep up with reading that much work per month, then divide it up. Four writers submit one month, while the remaining four submit the following month. Above all, writing groups should be a relaxed environment-away from your significant other, your children, and your job. Let this be a time where you hone your writing skills with the assistance of others who simply seek the same thing.

    About The Author

    Stephen Jordan has five years experience within the educational publishing industry. Stephen was a freelance editor with such educational foundations as Princeton Review, The College Board, New York University, and Columbia University. Away from the office, Stephen promotes his creative writing with his home-freelance business OutStretch Publications and his artwork. Stephen holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees in writing and literature from Alderson-Broaddus College of Philippi, West Virginia Available for reprint. Please contact author so he can keep track of where his articles are being used.

    Win More Clients, Projects and Freelance Jobs By Making Three Small Changes
    Iā??ve spoken to hundreds of editors, employers, and project managers about how they choose a freelancer for a job. Whether they were reviewing job applications or considering project bids, they all had one thing in common.
    How to Pitch a Story
    Ever wonder why we refer to convincing an editor a story is worthy by "pitching a story?" I have. I'm a baseball enthusiast, and it makes a lot of sense to me.
    Writing Made Them Rich #1: JK Rowling
    Joanne Kathleen Rowling was born in Chipping Sodbury,England in 1965. She began writing at the age of 6 with astory called 'Rabbit', which she never finished.
    Writing Business Letters That Get The Job Done
    Despite the widespread use of e-mail in commerce today,traditional business letters are still the main way that the majority of businesses officially communicatewith their customers and other businesses.This is especially true when businesses want to formalizean agreement or an understanding.
    How To Co-Publish For Profits!
    The Benefits of Co-Publishing There are a number of publishers, printers, and mail order dealers who publish their own mailorder magazine. They make their profit by selling advertising space to others in addition to selling their own offers.
    Frequently Asked Questions from Writers
    1. What Is A Premise?A premise is the point you have to prove in your novel.
    A Quick Guide to ISBNs for Self-Publishers
    ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is a code assigned to every published book that uniquely identifies it in the marketplace.
    Editing for Perfection - The Personal Statement
    This article contains a short guide on how to edit your personal statement and create tension and suspense within your writing. For most potential students there are some clear reasons why they wish to embark on university.
    Another Way to Show Your Expertise: Write a Book!
    Maybe you should write a book! This is not as difficult as it sounds. You're already an expert in a field by virtue of your work experience and/or academic credentials.
    How to Build A Success Freelance Career (Part 2)
    Part 1 of this article discussed the experience you need to successfully build a freelance career. Here, I will outline other necessities.
    Writing Requires Self-Control
    The only way to become a writer is to write. That requires a great deal of self-control and dedication, not only writing when the urge is upon you, but even when it is not.
    Why Researching Is Good, And A Failure To Do So Is Not
    What a lack of research could do to you.When creating an ebook how well do you research the topic before hand?It's absolutely crucial that you research what problems your target market is having andwhat they're spending money on.
    10 Things that Keep You from Writing Your Book? and What You Can do About It
    9 out of 10 professionals and small business owners have at least one book or information product inside their head, but lack the time and organizational skills to get it out into digital or print form.You may cringe when you read this list of ten things keeping you from writing your book, because it rings too close to home for you.
    8 Ways to Improve Your Writing Immediately
    Is it possible to improve your writing instantly? The answer, happily, is "yes."While researching a book on famous speeches and essays, I found eight easily correctable mistakes writers often make.
    Suspense Novels Need Fast Starts
    Suspense novels, unlike any other genre, need fast starts. Fans of suspense novels or their close relatives, thrillers, detective stories and mysteries, expect a fast-paced read.
    Writing Made Them Rich #2: Charles Dickens
    Charles Dickens was born in Portsea, England, in1812. His father was a clerk in the Navy Pay Office,stationed at Portsmouth.
    How to Publish a Book: Key Differences Between Publishing and Self Publishing
    For many authors just starting out, it can be a confusing and overwhelming decision whether to self publish a book or to seek out a traditional publishing house. It is important to know that the decision you make can have a huge impact on the success, or the failure, of your book.
    How To Become a Freelance Grant Writer
    What is a freelance grant writer? These individuals have a lot of power in their hands. When they work for companies, they are essentially trying to help gain free money for that company to help the company expand, do research, or to stay in business.
    Vital Verbs
    Remember back in the dark days of your school years when you had to learn the parts of speech? A noun is the name of a person, place, or thing. When asked what a verb was, you smugly answered, A verb is a word that indicates action, or some such definition.
    10 Ways to Shatter Writers Block
    1. Use Logic: Check for External PressuresAre you under physical or emotional stress? Is your diet lacking? Do you need more sleep, or more restful sleep? Would a visit to the doctor be in order before you start beating yourself up about your inability to concentrate?2.

    Home | Articles Site Map