Later on in the conversation

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Starting your writers' group

Posted on September 28, 2012 at 3:55 PM

I tried to get a writers' group off the ground recently, so I took some notes from around the web. My group didn't work out, but maybe you can benefit from the research I did.


Be clear from the beginning about the structure of your meetings


Will you read your writing out loud, and will everyone give feedback? (You might make feedback optional, if the author would rather not take any feedback for a particular piece.) Will you email your story, article pitch, or book proposal to each other before the meeting? Will you write during your meetings (that wouldn’t work for me – but it may be appealing to writers who struggle with motivation or time to write)? Will you brainstorm story ideas or wrestle with plot problems?


If you meet every two weeks, you could alternate between a critique night and a “just talking about writing” night.

Re-evaluate your writing group regularly. Agree on the guidelines for your writer’s group, and then re-evaluate after a season – such as every quarter or every September.


The above ideas were harvested here.


You might try learning about cooperative learning as a way of structuring your group. I thought of that because that last section talks about re-evaluating your group. Here is a brief introduction to cooperative learning, and here is a very long web page about it.

...

This next section came from here.


Contact someone in charge to ask about the possibility of having a writer's group meet on site. Most places are happy to oblige. Common places to find writers' clubs include libraries, bookstores, and college campuses. After receiving permission to hold meetings at a particular site, choose a date and time for the first meeting.  


For starters, invite each writer in attendance to give a brief introduction and determine what day of the week and time are best for ongoing meetings.


One way to build numbers is to present a program at each meeting. Ask a local newspaper columnist to speak or get in touch with a regional writer. Having a "name" entertainment or program can gain interest and bring more members.


Create an online group in conjunction with the physical one. Many sites offer free groups. Yahoo is one of these. This will allow members to stay in touch between meetings and also allow anyone who can't attend meetings due to schedule conflicts a way to belong as well.


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This last bit is from here.


Reading complete works aloud is not a good way to spend time (unless it’s a poetry group). Take-home critiques are the way to go.


There you have it. May you have a happy group writing experience. 

 

Categories: writing

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