Have You Ever Joined A Writers Group and Was it Helpful?
I've joined two writers groups over the past year and both were dominated by one person and not very helpful. I quit one after the first meeting and the other after two months. I'm wondering if other writers out there have had good luck with finding a relevant group and if so how did it serve to improve their writing.
There is a writer's group between friends that I go to. Its not really public, and was set up just for fun. We enjoy writing and share our stories with each other, then laugh and giggle and eat snacks that we all bring. Afterwards we'll play Apples to Apples or Phase 10 or whatever easy and fun game is brought. I wouldn't say its dominated, but there is a "leader", who organizes the time etc. Perhaps it could be a difference between public groups, and just a bunch of friends getting together.
Everybody usually has helpful insights (or they just don't care and like to hear the stories) most of them write fanfictions, so there is a lot of nerd-related topics and fandom going on. Personally I've not contributed too much, but I have plans to create a novel off a short story I created. They liked the little pieces I've crafted so far, but again, they don't seem so critical as just enjoying a good story. We'll offer ideas/insights as needed, and I'm sure if I really asked for help they could give me some good pointers.
If you can't fit into a public group, perhaps try local with friends/people you know who like to write?
I joined a Christian writers group at church and I have enjoyed it. Our leader is a published Author and has shared his successes and failures in getting his book to market. It has been a source of learning for me. I was surprised at the differences in perspective others have that I may not have been aware of before sharing my writing efforts with others.
One of our members was an editor of a San Francisco Bay Area News Paper who has been a real help to me. All in all I feel this writers group has been beneficial to me.
I joined one through meetup.com that is geared towards authors looking to find ways to (market) their books. I've gotten some quality tips from attending a couple of their meetings. I would not bother joining a group that is looking to critique each other's writing or still trying to find their own voice. These groups often end up being nothing more than "support groups" for writers with low self-esteem.
There is an old saying, that if you want to live in a better area you don't need to move. simply improve the area in which you live.
The same applies to writing groups and you have to accept that the quality of a writing group depends on the input from its members. Sometimes you have to fight a bit harder to make improvements. If you are a member of a crap group, it's generally crap because its members don't fight to improve things.
The group I joined used to have an 'creative writing instructor' who set repetitive and pointless exercises. Now a good many members have moved on to self-publishing, one winning a newspaper competition to have their novel published plus other benefits.
I belong to a writing group but it's more of a friend-author-support-group than it is a writing exercise group. We try to do writing and reading exercises, but it's rarely consistent and participation is sparse. However I think we've continued to meet because we're all friends and we do actually talk about writing. So, really I think it's just about finding the right group of people. That way, even if you're off topic, you will still enjoy your time with them.
I am part of the Dubai Writer's group. I figure only a few meetings perhaps 10% of it has been useful for my pursuits. My first meeting was not what I expected because I landed in a fiction-writers' critique group....As I was no fiction writer I couldn't take back anything from it. However a Kids Art Lit meeting was very helpful because there landed many published Picture Book Authors to share their publishing experiences. Since I am also a Children's illustrator with story writing interests for a younger audience I enjoyed it. So perhaps if it is a group which hosts meetings for different genres, one could benefit in some way.
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