Monthly Archives: April 2012


Writing groups that deliver


I’m blessed – and I don’t use that word lightly – in being part of a savvy, smart writing group. Our writing group offers us a place to try out new ideas and get feedback from people who truly care about how hard it was to get those words onto the page in the first place. A story is an arduous construction project, and the process can be long and difficult and, quite frankly, produce some pretty ugly results along the way. A writing group can help you plough through the unmanageable bits and recognize what’s worth saving. Who else will care about your characters as passionately as you do? Who else will willingly read their way through four endings and still have the energy to help you dig deep inside to come up with one that works?

But a good writing group doesn’t just happen. The success of your writing group ultimately depends on the attention you give to,and the time you spend on, thinking about writing  – about your own work that you’re creating, certainly, but also about the work of the others in your group. Reading and critiquing the work of others is hugely important to becoming a better writer, and the better you get at writing, the more you’ll have to offer in terms of reading and critiquing. It’s a wonderful symbiosis that benefits everyone as long – as everyone contributes to the benefits.

If you haven’t found a writing group that works for you, then keep looking. You don’t have to all be writing the same genre, you don’t have to all belong to the same book group, you don’t have to all be the same age or stage of writing – or life. What matters is how you approach writing and how eager you are to keep learning and growing.


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