Here on Literative, we’ve touched on writer’s groups quite a bit. Where to find them, which ones are available to join, why you should join them. But how about how to choose a writer’s group? Surely there are some questions to consider, prior to diving in head-first?
The answer is yes, there are several factors to consider. Before joining in, it’s crucial to think about your motives. Why should you join a writer’s group. Knowing the why will ultimately make it easy to answer the rest of the questions on this list.
Face to Face, Or Online?
First thing is first, writing is a lonely profession. Often times, it means writers sit at their computer, alone with their thoughts. However, not every writer is affected by this. Some go a little insane, and desire companionship, but others rejoice in the solitude for inspiration.
For writers looking to expand their social circles, and interact with other writers, face-to-face workshops are the clear answer. Otherwise, if you’re more inspired and effective by yourself, online workshops are just fine. There are many options either way, although depending on where you live, online workshops might be the more logical answer.
Also, many writers go about creating their own workshop with other local writers. If that’s the route you choose to take, consider keeping it small and check your ambitions.
Workshops Aren’t For Everyone, Right?
Not at all. Workshops are like classes, where the instructor, or leader, provides some sort of exercise each meeting. It helps all the writers focus on the same assignment. If writers all have different projects they’re working on, then the leader will emphasize certain writing skills to focus on each meeting.
That means, if you want direct advice, assistance, or specific help on one solid writing aspect, workshops might not be up your alley. At the very least, it’s important to join a workshop when it makes sense for you. To hone your skills in a general manner, not revolving around a particular subject.
What Are Critique Groups?
Critique groups are straightforward. Rather than teach and expand skills, they provide reviews on your work. Normally, writers attending these critique groups will keep working on whatever short story, novel, or collection they’ve been working on, and then submit it for critique from other writers. Many critique groups are composed of friends who meet at coffee shops and give each other feedback on their weekly writing.
Genre Specific, or General?
The final major question to ask. Genre-specific works well for writers looking to meet other writers in their niche, and improve their specific skills. General writer’s groups, on the other hand, are very much about the writing itself, not so much about the genre.
General writer’s groups are composed of science fiction, romance, mystery and memoir writers. Everything under the sun. But genre specific writer’s groups are meant to improve that exact ability. It makes science fiction writers better at writing science fiction by focusing on science fiction story elements.
Writer’s workshops are so useful for all kinds of writers. They’re great ways to meet new people, improve your writing ability, and even promote productivity. But before diving head-first into anything, it’s important to note your reasons for wanting to join one. Once you know the why, you’ll now what direction to head in.