How to start a writing group

the writer’s toolbox

My workshop students often want to keep up the momentum of our short, intensive time together, plus they want the accountability of having public deadlines. In a flurry of camaraderie, they exchange email addresses before heading out the door.

But then what? How do you construct and nurture a writing community? Some groups pay professional editors/writers to lead them; some are self-governed and -propelled; some are hybrids, occasionally paying guest instructors to come in.

On today’s GALLEYCAT, I came across a few tips in this how-to article, but would welcome any suggestions or resources I can share with future students. I’m curious about how you get a good fit, especially if your group includes multiple genres. What works? Doesn’t? Triumphs? Horror Stories?

1 Comment How to start a writing group

  1. Jerry Waxler

    Neat topic!!! I am always looking for groups, or joining them, or starting or leading them. Yes, there are lots of problems, but also the rewards are important. In fact, crucial. Without other writers, how can we write?

    My “solution” to all the questions has to do with my willingness to jump in to various groups and see how they work. Just as writers must learn sub-skills of their craft (dialog, structure), and sub-skills of self-management (persistence, courage), there is a whole other set of sub-skills required to start and stick with writing groups. (Tolerance for other people, willingness to expose self, etc).

    Writers are the new farmers. (Who had to plant, fix equipment, sell, pray for better weather, etc.)

    So what do you tell your students? Hmm, I’m asking you and I’m seeing an opportunity for myself. We ought to be sending them home with a “start your group” toolkit.

    Jerry

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