Linking Arms

Talk about lousy timing! After accepting the position of president for my local writer’s group, HIS Writers, I was shocked when the Lord asked me to stop pursuing book publication. “Why are you asking me to work for writers if you won’t let me write?” I whined.

His answer was tender, “This is for you–a gift.”

And so it was. As chaos swirled in my life friends in HIS Writers linked arms with me and kept me sane. Though multiple family crises didn’t allow much writing time, staying involved kept me learning, growing, and networking as a writer. As the difficult season drew to a close, HIS Writers cheered as I received my first book contract.

There are many practical reasons to get involved in a writing group. Below are some reasons to connect–and also things to look for as you choose where to belong.


HIS Writers in 2010

There’s great value in finding support among your peers, but there’s also the business aspect of networking. Because of networking in HIS Writers, I received my first free-lance editing job. I’ve also been in the position to sub-contract part of my free-lance writing, and I looked to the people in my group when it came time to hire. It was a joy to offer a first publishing opportunity to some gifted writers. My first fiction book contract came about through a friend in the group. Never underestimate the power of peer relationships.

In many vibrant writing groups, you don’t only network with peers. Through HIS Writers I’ve met people from across the publishing world–authors, editors, even a publisher! Two agents from WordServe Literary spoke to our group. I also networked with the store manager where we meet. He’s promised me a prime spot during the next holiday season for a book signing!


Good writing groups offer you a chance to develop professionally. Advanced writers and speakers teach craft. Critique groups help members develop. Strong groups also educate  about the business of writing.

HIS Writers board with the speaker of our first Novel Crafters Seminar of the Rockies. Left to right: Donna Schlachter, Susan May Warren, Paula Moldenhauer, Linda Abels, and Jill Hups


We’ve all watched eyes glaze over when non-writer family and friends are no longer tracking with us. As excited as our loved ones get as they watch us succeed, they often don’t understand the journey. We need cheerleaders who’ve felt the sting of rejection and know how to get up and try again. We need wise counsel from people who’ve been there.

A Chance to Give Back

As Christian writers we’re on the same team, working toward eternal impact. There are many ways to serve in a writing group. While getting involved with a local leadership team is rewarding, giving back can be as simple as cheering on the person seated next to you.

I recently accepted the position of Colorado Coordinator for the American Christian Fiction Writers. My passion is to see others benefit as I have from strong local chapters. How about you? Have writing groups helped you? How have you given back? What do you wish your local group had to offer?

14 Replies to “Linking Arms”

  1. This is such a great post! I love the reminder that God really does know best. You have so beautifully woven a picture of the benefits of writing groups. I attend two groups that differ greatly in their focus, one is primarily a critique group while the other concentrates on the business aspect of writing with an educational component that takes the form of a mini-workshop environment.

    My writing has not only improved, but also changed. I have been willing to try different styles of writing that I never dreamed I’d attempt, because of how I’ve grown as a writer through group interaction. I am so grateful for the members – their suppot, encouragement, wisdom, and friendship.

  2. Paula, I understand. There are times when my encouraging other writers “gets in the way” of my writing. Then I wonder if God is trying to tell me something . . . and will it be something I want to hear? For now, I’m going with the flow and enjoying the ride!

  3. Good reminder, Paula. I’m in 4 critique groups–I lead one for novice Christian writers but don’t submit my work; I lead and participate in another Christian writers group; and I also participate in two secular groups, one of which I led to get it going. I find considerable opportunity to witness in the secular groups (there’s a tremendous amount of ignorance about Christianity and Christians in the general market). On the other hand, I have to read some distasteful stuff from a few secular writers but I know that God loves them, too, and they’re not going to be exposed to him w/o someone showing them the way.

  4. So true! Writers are on a long journey, and both giving and receiving camaraderie and support can make all the difference in the world! (:

  5. Paula, I love it that you point out how writing groups aren’t just for those who are actively writing. Writers are such an important support source for one another. I know I enjoy giving back, and I love my writing friends!

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