Writing with others


I’ve recently conducted a workshop session to help writers get the most from their writing groups. It got me thinking about the value of the writing group. Part social get-together, part professional networking and part creative collaboration, writing groups take writers out of their garrets (or studies or back sheds). Writing with the help other writers has many advantages for writers at all stages of their careers.

Perhaps the most significant positive impact of writing group membership is psychological. Writing can be a lonely pursuit. Writers who do not seek the input of others have no outlet for the doubt that can go with a large project, such as a novel.

Regular writing group workshopping sessions allow writers to check assumptions, re-jig plots, assess what’s working and what isn’t, and all during the course of the drafting of their works.

The key word, in creating a successful writing group dynamic, is ‘trust’. Having trusted and engaged writing colleagues, and being prepared to accept robust commentary are the underpinnings of all great writing groups.

You can find established groups in most suburbs and towns, meeting at libraries, community centres or local pubs. Each will have its own characteristics, and it’s important to find the right group for you. If a group is welcoming and respectful of your writing, and if you feel comfortable in the group, then it’s probably the right one for you.

The alternative to existing groups is to create your own group based around your writing colleagues. Either way, membership of a writing group is something I recommend to all writers. The old image of the creative loner doesn’t cut it anymore. The best creative practices seek out and incorporate the input of others. Writing groups are one of the best, and simplest, ways for writers to do this. And they can be a load of fun as well—and a welcome break from the ‘grind work’ of writing.

May your words pour onto the page,

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