Check one off the bucket list. I joined not one, but two writers groups. I would encourage anyone with a creative interest to link up with some like-minded people and grow that skill set.
But who/what/when/where does this happen? Let me break down the basics:
HOW DO YOU FIND A LOCAL WRITERS GROUP?
Throw it back to those grammar school days and contact your local library. Surprising to some, they’re still a great resource. They’re just as in tune with the community as ever – it’s their job!
AND they offer so much more! I’ve also attended rewarding workshops on publishing and been thoroughly impressed with talks from local authors.
Keep on keepin’ on local libraries. You’re doing us good.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
For me, the biggest benefits are the fresh perspectives, motivation, and support.
No matter the size of the group, every person has their own style and specialty. They’re poets, bloggers, playwrights, fiction authors, non-fiction authors, beginners, success stories, etc. And each one will offer you their take on your work. The more critiques (and compliments) the better.
Your partners in crime want you to succeed. They want to see the things you write sail on to popularity. Their encouragement is invaluable. Writing can be a solitary and lonely venture, but it doesn’t always have to be. Let people in and let them lift you up.
Motivation is key. It’s easier to turn off the TV and park it at your desk for a few hours when you know everyone else will be bringing their A game – or at least a first draft of their A game – to the next meet up.
But sometimes you just can’t write. Sometimes your brain is off and the lights are out. But they’re here for that too! Whether through writing prompts or just general conversation they’ll help push you onward and upward.
WHAT TO EXPECT?
Expect to participate. You’re only going to get what you put in. Praise the parts you loved and respectfully offer any criticisms and you’ll be rewarded with the same kindness in return.
Expect criticism. That’s what a workshop is all about. If you haven’t been in a workshop setting before it’s all about sharing your work and opening up the floor to compliments and constructive criticism. Rule of thumb: don’t argue. Take it all in. Think about it. And then it’s up to you to follow any new directions or not.
WHAT’S THE TIME COMMITMENT?
Meetings are (usually) once a month. They’ll probably be a few hours long – depending on the size of the group – so block that out in your schedule.
BUT aside from the meetings you should be putting in some real time – maybe a few hours a week – working on new projects. Obviously, this depends on what’s happening in life and can vary month to month. But try to challenge yourself. Whether it’s brainstorming ideas or toying around with a written form that you usually avoid, do something. Work it out. And bring it in.