Writer's groups

What do you think about writer’s groups?

  • I’m in one and it helps
  • I was in one but it didn’t help
  • I’m in one but it doesn’t help
  • I’m thinking about joining one
  • I don’t care to join one

0 voters

Curious as to what you all think about writer’s groups. I’ve been thinking about joining one but don’t know if it would be worth the time. I used to visit my friend’s group, but it didn’t seem very useful.

They won’t teach you much you don’t already know, but they are very valuable for forcing you to take note of what other readers actually see in your writing. There’s nothing like feedback. You may think that what you have written conveys beautifully some very complex philosophical point, but when you realise that not one reader has the faintest idea of what is happening in your story, you do have to stand back and look at what you have written all over again, and this time spell out what you mean.

best

JT

I second what jtranter said. They’re also good for motivating you to write, encouraging you to read and for exposing you to ways of writing you may not have considered. It can also become a friendly social group which, if you spend a lot of time writing, can be a welcome relief.

Each group is different, so if you didn’t like your friend’s group, you may like another. Also, some groups do different things each meeting, so it may take 2 or 3 attendances to work out if a particular group is for you. I miss the group I belonged to (now many years ago, and several hours drive away) and intend to rejoin one when I finish my thesis.

Thanks, John and nom. I could definitely use more feedback and help staying on a writing schedule.

There are groups, and then there are groups. Years ago I visited groups in which everyone absolutely loved everything everyone else wrote, and groups in which nothing anyone wrote – this, typically the outpouring of one or two whom the others could not or would not silence – was worth anything.

No doubt groups exist in a sane and helpful middle, but those early experiences returned me to barroom conversations with a couple of honest and trusted friends. Which is, I suppose, its own kind of writers’ group, though writing often is lost in the shuffle.

ps

I am in a couple critique circles (one in person and one online) and I am a board member of SouthWest Writers.

They are very helpful to me but you have to shop around. I left one because it was all chat and I left another because no one was really doing anything beyond fan fic. Yuck. Good for teens to learn how to write but you have to grow up some time. As most here know, I’m also a big fan/supporter/ML for NaNoWriMo.

The comments really aren’t anything that you can’t figure out for yourself but the “oh yeahs” are good reminders. What I find most useful is forced productivity. You have a due dates. I need those. :stuck_out_tongue:

Apollo16

Apollo16, what do you think about online critique circle? Do you find the anonymity a plus or a minus?

I started this online group with several friends from a previous in person group. I moved across country and my group didn’t want to lose me as a member. So… although the make-up of the group has changed over time… everyone has been personally invited and we all know each other. To join the group, you have to introduce yourself and there is a really short vetting process. (You critique once and then you can turn in your piece.)

I have not tried anonymous groups because I have a delicate disposition and fear an unwarranted (or warranted) flame. :frowning:

OK. I’m a writer so I ain’t so delicate no more… but… I really don’t want to share stuff with strangers. I need to know you so I can better judge your critiques.

Sorry I can’t be of more help.

Apollo16

I just finished my second class in Creative Writing taken as a distant ed online class through a Swedish university.

We’ve had assignments that we share with a group of about ten people. Everyone was required to give feedback on at least five other texts. Anyone accepted to the class (about 200 people) could read the texts you posted, but very few ventured out of their assigned group to look around and give feedback in other groups.

I wasn’t too happy with class the first semester as it seemed like people didn’t really have time to give proper feedback. A few of us spent a lot of time and put effort in feedback that were thoughtful and had suggestions in it. Most left feedback that were 4-5 sentences long…

This all changed in the second class (the semester I just finished). My feedback group this time around consisted of other people than the first semeter’s did, and we all had had practise in giving (and receiving) feedback. Everything was better. Everyone’s writing was better and also the way people cared about others’ texts.

I signed up for an “anonymous” (everyone knew my name but we didn’t know each other or meet) class as I thought it would make me feel freeer. And I’m sure it did. I can see some people maybe being extra negative in feedback when they can give it anonymously in writing but I didn’t sense that happening in my two groups. I think people were fairly honest in their comments.

I joined a WG about 17 years ago on Prodigy. You all remember Prodigy, right? Before AOL? You know what AOL is right?

Anyway, we all supported each other and even had some successes in our group. Still do.

We’re now great online friends. Most of us have stayed in touch. So I’m really glad I joined, but not for my writing career. Just for the common companionship.

Good luck!