You know, I never used to be in writers groups of any kind, but in the last few years I’ve suddenly found myself in quite a few. I have to say, they have been very valuable for my career and personal satisfaction.
A writer’s group can help you deal with the ups and downs of the freelance writing life and give you some perspective on days when negative clients and low rates get the best of you.
If you’re new to the idea of a writer’s group, here are some ideas on how to join or start one.
Online Writers Groups
You don’t have to be face-to-face with someone in order to reap the benefits of emotional support. Being a part of an active online group can work just as well. If you’re a work-at-home writer, there are several forums online that accept new people.
If you write for an online magazine or website, you can also check to see if they have a writing community. Suite101, Examiner, and About.com, and the like are all sites that have an online forum.
Yahoo Groups is another great way to find other writers. Go to the Yahoo home page, then click on “Groups.” (The “groups” link will either be on the left side or at the very bottom, depending on your personal site preferences.) Enter “writers” in the search box at the top. Or, you can start your own group on the site by clicking the link at the top.
Local Colleges Have Writers Groups
Many local colleges and technical schools will have a writers group that meets regularly. I was actually asked to speak to two of things last year in our local area. These may meet after class, at night, or even during the day. Generally these types of groups have a wide variety of people, from freelance writers to aspiring novelists. The range of people can help writers get a variety of feedback about their work.
Writers Groups on Meetup.com
Meetup is a wonderful way to connect with other like-minded people. There are a variety of groups listed on the site, many of them having to do with writing or books. Simply enter your zip code and do a search to find one that is right for you.
The site also asks members for their areas of interest, and even if there is not a group formed they give suggestions on how to start one. Knowing there are other people out there looking for the same types of groups you are can be a motivating factor in creating your own.
Join a Writing Organization
In the last few years, I’ve joined a couple writing organizations, and these have had several different meetup opportunities. Some of these are in the form of classes, but quite a few have been small luncheons and coffee meetups to get to know other writers. Go to a few events and meet some people, and these can turn into friendships, lunch dates, “coffice time,” and more.
Start Your Own Group
As mentioned above, Meetup and Yahoo provide easy ways for you to start your own writers group. These groups can be formed online initially, and brought to the real world if enough local members sign up. You can also post a notice in your local coffee shop (where writers are known to hang out) or library to help generate interest.
Connecting with other writers is a great way to get sympathy on a bad day, get over a rejection quicker, and receive an honest critique of your writing. The best part is being surrounded by people who know exactly what you’re going through. Writing, even for the business world, is often connected to emotions, so having a group of like-minded people you can share your triumphs and frustrations with will help you put the ups and downs in perspective.