Finding the perfect writers’ group for yourself is like finding a pair of really good, comfortable shoes. You have to try a few pairs on before you find the perfect fit. You need to be discerning as not all writers’ groups are the same and they do not necessarily do what they say on the outside of their tin. In the past, I have joined several writers’ groups and to this day, I only belong to one–the first one I joined. It has been a perfect fit and it has also evolved over the last seven years. Here are five things to consider when joining a writing group:
You are not looking to cure cancer but you do need to find a group of people whose intention is to learn the craft of writing, get published and be willing to help one another. Avoid the group that is a collection of hobbyists. People who enjoy writing but are not necessarily serious about it. This is not a criticism as they serve a purpose too; it is only that your aim is different than theirs. No sense in spending time with people not travelling on the same path.
Unfortunately, they are out there and I managed to find one. The moderator of the group bent over backwards trying to sell his own products and trying to persuade us to a certain point of view. The group then is diminished to serve only as a front to push something political, social, or economic. Run.
There is one in every group, every classroom, every work meeting. You know the type. Whenever an idea or new point is brought up, there is always a member who can illustrate it with their own personal story, of which they seem to have an endless supply. This is my own personal pet peeve.
In the past I have belonged to a group that was entirely made up of women fiction writers and a general writing group that included all genres and poetry and short stories. The general group did not suit me. I never knew what I was going to be critiquing and as I am not versed in some areas like poetry or perhaps have no interest in science fiction, I felt I could not do my best by these other writers. In the women’s fiction group, because I read it and write it, I felt not only better served but able to serve better.
In Person or Online
Do not necessarily dismiss an online writing group; that is where you might get the most work done. You are able to meet like-minded people from all over the world and with the internet it is now very easy to exchange manuscripts with the click of a button.
Like a pair of shoes, if they do not fit right or if they hurt, it will not be long before you stop wearing them.