There are not many authors that I know, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to form or join a good writing group. Of course what makes a writing group good, is more than likely found in the eye of the beholder. However, there are some things you should be aware of, or questions to ask when deciding whether or not to join a writing group. And always remember, you can start one of your own if you can’t find one that suits you.
- When does the group meet? Obviously being able to attend meetings, and having them at a time that is convenient for you, should be a primary concern when finding a writing group.
- How often does the group meet? How often the group meets, might show the level of commitment from the other members. For instance, if the group only meets every couple of months, and there doesn’t seem to be a consistent pattern, the group members may not be in it for the long haul. However, finding a writing group that meets weekly, biweekly or monthly is probably a safer bet.
- Where do they meet? If they are meeting at the library, utilizing a meeting room so that discussion can take place? Or are they meeting at a random table smack dab in the middle of the library? If this is the case, discussion may be at a minimum. Is the group leader a mother of two, always getting up to see what her children are into, or is the noise level too much?
- What genre does the group welcome? Are they genre specific: like romance, sci-fi, fantasy, etc. Or do they welcome all writers?
- What is the purpose of the group? Do they offer critique? Do they offer support and encouragement?
- Who leads the group? Does anyone lead the group? Does everyone take a turn leading the group?
- Are the discussions on topic? Or is there a lot of socialization going on? What is the ratio of the two?
- Does the group have membership requirements? Does the group have membership dues?
- Is the group primarily for critique? Do you ever do any writing within the group? How do you handle passing around the work that needs to be critiqued?
- Does everyone get a chance to speak? Does everyone get a chance to be critiqued? If the group is a large group how many people get their work critiqued per meeting?
Some of these questions might not apply to you. You might have more questions than I offer here. Regardless, it is important when selecting a good writing group, to find out all you can about the group and how they do things.
Can you think of anything else that should be looked at or any questions that could be added?