Writing Tips

Should you join a writing group?

When I first arrived in Las Vegas in 2008, I wanted to find a community of writers. In New York City, I had worked as a writer/editor for several publications, so I did not need to learn the basics: how to write query letter, how to submit articles, or how to find a market for one’s work.

What I did need was the company of other writers. The first group I joined was Las Vegas  Quill Keepers, for local women writers. Cathe Jones, writer, animal trainer (rats!), stand-up comedian, comic book publisher, songwriter, and singer–a true Renaissance woman–led our group.

I looked forward to monthly meetings at Barnes & Nobles with women who wrote in all genres, represented all ages, and had varied writing experience.

Most of all, I respected Cathe’s straightforward but encouraging, insights. She also had invaluable contacts in most of Las Vegas media. When she disbanded the group for health reasons, I was not happy.

The second group, Pushing Led, was not really a group but informal get-togethers of three young, former Quill Keepers. I attended a few of their meetings until I realized that their discussions centered around children, boyfriends/spouses, and careers. Not a good fit for me.

The  Aliante Writers Group (AWG) meets the second Tuesday of every month at a local library. Its members include many unpublished writers who seek comments/suggestions about their work and advice on how to get published. Some older members want to learn how to promote themselves on social media..

Although AWG provided helpful critiques of my work, yet I did not gain much else that was useful at this stage of my career.

Do I belong to a group now? No. However, I am considering which of two long-standing groups best suits my needs.

So, should you join a writing group?

If you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions, getting together with other writers might be just what you need.

  1. Do you want to meet writers who have published or who publish regularly?
  2. Do you need honest feedback about your work?
  3. Do you want to network with other writers?
  4. Do you want advice about writer’s block, writing fees, writing markets, branding, publishing options?
  5. Do you have questions about creating an online presence?

Writers are solitary creatures; we spend our days mulling over the ideas/characters/words in our heads. Oftentimes, we are reluctant to expose our prose to public scrutiny.

Nonetheless, the support, camaraderie, and practical advice we receive from our peers can help us become more effective (marketable) writers.

Before you join, however, sit in on two or three sessions to make sure that the group can deliver what you need.

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