Monday, July 28, 2014
You Should be in a Writers' Group
"Oh, but I'm a writer, a loner, an introvert."
Yes, and you should be in a writers' group.
I'm a bit embarrassed that I lived in this town for about 13 years before I found a writers' group (in my defense, 11 of those years I was working more than full time at a day job and had little time or ambition to write). And to be honest, they found me. A member hunted me down at a signing and I'm so glad she did.
So why should you be in a writers' group? Well, for the fun and camaraderie to start with. Now each group will have its own dynamic and if you live in a populated area you may be able to find one that meets your style (I live in a small town and am limited to one group, which luckily is a great group for the most part).
"But what can a writers' group do for me?" you're asking.
I'm glad you asked.
A writers' group is a great place to share and develop ideas. You can brainstorm plot points, plot holes, plot development. I was recently stuck for how to proceed on a work in progress (WIP). So we brainstormed ideas and one of them ended up being in the book.
And they will encourage you to write. I know I wouldn't have started let alone finished Gods of Strife without the "let's sit down and write" part of my writers' group meetings.
Members will have different expertise. Some might be great with grammar, some might know publishing inside and out, some might be able to format books for the Kindle and other eReaders. Some might know about cars, guns, military equipment (that's me in my group). In the same WIP I mentioned before, one member helped me with horses.
Members can exchange beta reads and give good, constructive feedback. Be aware, if you are going to ask for beta reads, you're going to have to do beta reads. But it's worth it. The feedback and ideas and proofreading will improve you're writing tremendously.
A writers' group can hold you accountable and encourage you to actually, you know, write.
An active group will be looking for signings, promotion, and public event opportunities. It was because of my writers' group I went to and participated in my first con and sat on panels and gave out swag and got my name out there.
Yes, we are all introverts, preferring to stare at our computer screens rather than interact with humans. But a writers' group will help your writing and your career. So get out there and find one. Maybe check bulletin boards at bookstores?