Writing is often a lonely journey with many hours spent secluded from friends and family. But you don’t need to be completely alone. Writing groups allows you to talk with other like-minded people on a similar journey. You can share your frustrations and excitement as well as practice skills and workshop each other’s material.
Where do I find a writing group?
Check out if there are any writing associations in your area (like ARWA for romance writers of Alberta in Calgary area). If they aren’t close by, they still may be able to give you a person to contact near your area. The writing community is small so chances are most people know or have heard of each other. Another option is putting out a Facebook call from your friends you already have to see if any are interested in meeting on a regular basis.
What is it I’m looking to gain?
Once you have your group together, it’s a good idea to sit down and figure out what everyone’s goals are. My own writing group formed for the sole purpose of finding people to sit down with regularly to force myself to commit time to writing. You can also decide to have a workshopping group, where you regularly bring material to meetings and have everyone read it and make suggestions or point out fallacies. Whatever your goals are, make sure everyone in the group is aware to avoid any frustrations with group members.
How much time can I invest?
This one is really important to consider. Do you want to meet with people once a month for several hours? Or, do you want to meet once a week to for an hour or two? At the beginning of my writing group, I was in school and able to invest every week a few hours to meeting up. Now that I am no longer in the area, I try to sit down with my group every other week for an hour. Whatever you decide on, make sure to not add unnecessary stress to your life. It’s okay to be human and have things come up.
With that all mind, you should be ready to go. As time passes, your group may grow or shrink, even change its goals based on where your needs have gone. And that’s okay. Just as you grow as a writer, so should your writing group grow.