Personally, I think the answer to this age-old conundrum is an easy one. I wouldn’t even call it a conundrum. Because there’s really no debating it.
Of course you should be in a writing group. Here’s some reasons why.
1) You don’t know what you’re missing out on. Seriously. I didn’t either until I found my writing group. Honestly, I’d never even heard of writing groups until I was invited to one. But after that first meeting I was hooked. It was a done deal. And I’ve not once regretted it.
2) You don’t have to go it alone. I know you think you can. We all did at one time. Boy were we wrong. There’s something about having other people working towards a similar goal, and giving you encouragement and giving it to them in return that gives you a little extra boost of confidence and motivation. You’ll share in victories and heartbreaks. It makes the journey a little easier. And you have someone–multiple someones–to remind you that you’re not crazy for pursuing your dream.
3) The shared expertise. Let me tell you, I thought I KNEW about writing when I joined my writing group. After just a couple of meetings, I learned quickly that I knew very little. And I still know very little. But I’ve learned a lot as well. As I continue writing and editing, I learn from the other writers and improve. When I’m ready to query agents, I know there’s a group of people who’ve already done that or are going through that and can help me. Somebody does pretty good with blogging and webpages. Someone else at social media. You might have a grammar expert, a plotting pro, a genre sleuth. You won’t know what to do with all the help you’ll get.
4) A little escape. Maybe your writing group meets once a month, maybe every couple of weeks. Whenever it meets, you look forward to that time. You get to put aside other responsibilities and focus on this thing you love to do. And everyone else is doing the same. No toddlers tugging at your sleeve so you can barely type. No significant others demanding your time. Work is completely cut off. Show up, sit back, relax and revel in the art of writing. And soak it all in cause you’ve got a whole month before you get to do it again.
5) Networking. Getting to know people. Making connections through those people. Since being in my writing group, I’ve met a book cover designer; a popular, published author; some self-published divas; a copyright lawyer; bloggers and many more people with skills who are willing to share. It would be nice to think that writing a book entailed only writing a book, but in 2014 there’s a lot more to it. With a writing group, you’ll meet people who can help you master all aspects of being an author. And who knows who you can help in return?
6) Giving back. Hey, you. Guess what? You’ve got knowledge and experience and even simply yourself to contribute. You’ve got an opinion and a point of view. You’re not just a writer. You’re a reader who can give insight to other authors on what makes a good book. And when someone else new joins the group, you’ll feel like an old timer doling out advice and assurance like someone once did for you. You’ve learned so much and now you get to pay that favor forward.
Aren’t you glad you joined a writing group?
What are some reasons you can think of to join a writing group?