Which makes it rather ironic when I tell you that the best writing move I made in the past twelve months was to join a writers’ group.
In particular, this group – the WordServe WaterCooler authors.
This is not to say that I meet up with my colleagues for coffee to toss book ideas around or offer each other critiques on working manuscripts. Since we are scattered around the country – even the globe! – the Starbucks club isn’t even a possibility. Yet, in the past year, I have found invaluable support from these new associates of mine, and their very concrete contributions to my writing development and opportunities have boggled my mind, especially since I’d imagined my involvement with these authors would be limited to seeing my name listed among theirs in the sidebar on the site. Instead, I’ve made friends with whom I share an abiding passion, a mission, and a whole lot of experiences. They’ve shared ingenious tips and simple ideas that kick-start my own creative and marketing efforts. I feel like I’ve been swept five years ahead in my career development, instead of my typical solitary slog of a year at a time.
So, okay, you get the picture. Enough kissy-kissy, “I love you” comments. The point I want to make is that every writer – EVERY WRITER – can benefit in amazing ways by being a part of a group of writers.
The key, however, is being a part of the RIGHT writers’ group, and this is the really tough part, I believe: finding the group that fits you. Here are things to consider as you search for your own writing pals:
- Look for peers. Teaching new writers how to create characters, plots, book proposals, and research markets is a generous and good thing to do, but if you want to move forward in your own writing career, you need to find writers who are at the same stage of the journey as you are. If the local writers’ club is all about getting that first article published while you’re working on building a platform for your next book, you won’t stick with the group. Find writers with the same needs as yours.
- A writers’ group isn’t necessarily about crafting your manuscript. Think of it as your emotional and spiritual cheerleading squad and be sure to take turns leading the cheers, and shedding the tears, for everyone in the group. In a way, a ‘writers’ group’ is almost an oxymoron – a bunch of solitary authors who open up to each other.
- You don’t compete with your group members. It isn’t a class where you’re vying for top scores. Your group should be a resource for information, ideas, experience and motivation, not a standard of comparison.
Are you a part of a writers’ group?