Why You Need to Join a Writing Group (And How to Find One)

If you’re fearfully approaching your writing life this year, one decision could change your life and your writing.

While this decision should be cautiously made, and you may experience some trial and error in the process, I strongly advise you to consider my suggestion: join a writers group this year.

Years ago, I joined an in-person, flesh-and-blood writers group through a local arts program known as Art House Dallas. We met for two years. We studied inspiring passages about writing. We contributed chapters to a collaborative project that was outside most of our comfort zones. We listened to each other’s stories of failure and success. Multiple members finished their book-length projects at the time.

Most of all, we encouraged one another to keep pursuing the calling of writing that is both so challenging yet so rewarding.

That group made me believe I was a writer.

You need other writers

Since then, I’ve become a writing instructor with Writing Workshops Dallas and a public speaker for writers groups and writing retreats.

In the summer of 2018, I attended the God’s Whisper Farm Writers Retreat. I led a breakout session, but the most memorable moment reminded me of our deep need for writing community.

During a time where small groups of five writers shared pieces of their work for immediate feedback, Maria shared her poetry, humbly telling us in so many words, “I’ve rarely shared this with anyone.”

Her hands may have trembled as she handed each of us a printout of one of her poems.

We all read in silence. Then we all looked at her, then at each other.

I don’t recall who spoke first, but our feedback was unanimous: “Maria, this is excellent work. I don’t see how any of us could improve upon it.”

After discussing her poem, background, and motivation, we all sat in awed reflection. Then I may have been the one to ask the question that nearly brought tears to her face: “Have you considered pitching this to a publisher?”

Her facial response seemed to say, “That’s ridiculous. Who would be interested in poetry from some no-name woman in rural Virginia?”

Then she spoke with grace and humility, downplaying her significant way with words. After begrudgingly accepting our accolades, she spoke similar words to what I’d said myself before joining my first writers group: “I just never knew there were other people like me out there.”

Really, that’s the only reason you need to join a writers group: to know you’re not alone on this insane calling.

But, if you need more motivation to leave your desk, read on.

6 reasons to join a writers group

1. Joining a writers group will help you escape hibernation

If your writing life has been dormant for months (or even years), the right writers group will spring you into action — if not just to prove to your group members that you are, in fact, a writer.

2. A writers group will provide you with accountability

Some people can self-motivate, but even the most productive writers need goading from time to time. Procrastinating writers definitely need prodding. Untold thousands of people want to write a book every year; only a small percentage will ever meet their goal. What kind of writer do you want to be?

3. A writers group will motivate you to become a better writer

For instance, the Inklings was a famous writers group from 1933–1949 comprised of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and many other English writers. “Many passages of The Lord of the Rings found in the Inklings their first—and unfailingly appreciative—audience, much to the delight of their author.” The friendly but competitive spirit of the group spurred Tolkien to write a masterpiece.

4. A writers group provides inspiration

Hearing another author’s work-in-progress, celebrating their successes alongside them, or seeing how they overcome the inevitable frustrations of the writing life will all inspire you to keep at it. And knowing that you will have a group of people who will likewise celebrate alongside your successes is a great inspiration to do your best work.

5. Worthwhile writers groups ought also to educate you

While not every writers group is solely educational, education still happens, whether through hearing others’ feedback, learning how someone marketed their book or discovering a new tool or resource that’s just what you needed at the precise moment you needed it.

6. Finally, a writers group ought to be fun

Of course, it won’t always be fun, but if you’re going to get the most from your group, your group needs to be relationally healthy. And a sure sign of relational health is the group’s ability to have fun without losing sight of the reason for the group’s existence.

If your writers group is far too serious all the time, you might need to search for a new group. The writing life is hard enough without your dour writers group making it more so.

Now, since I’m sure you’re motivated to join a writers group this year, let’s get practical.

What kind of writers group should I join?

Not all writers groups are created equally. Not all are sanctioned by an organization. Not all are free to attend.

In other words, before you choose a writers group, do your homework.

Research the group online. Send an email or two to the group’s coordinator. Connect with current members of the group. Figure out if what the group offers and the kinds of people who attend are what you could commit to.

Unless the group quickly fails to meet your expectations, commit to the group for at least a year. You need that long to build the kinds of trusting relationships that the best writers groups need, especially for critique groups. (Wouldn’t you rather know the person pretty well who’s nicely ripping apart your work?)

Here are a few different types of writers groups:

  • Critique groups tend to be the most common type of writing groups. In these groups, you’ll often bring multiple printouts of a sample of your work-in-progress for other attendees to read and critique. This feedback often happens out loud. If that’s your nightmare scenario, don’t join a critique group—yet. Then again, it’s better to receive in-person feedback from a few people you know than from the reading public on your launch day.
  • Program-based writers groups, like the Nonfiction Authors Association, often bring in a guest speaker to discuss some specific aspect of the writing life. These are mainly educational meetings, but some will mix in critiques too. Again: do your homework.
  • Discussion-based writing groups are informal meetings, sometimes without a set agenda, where writers can talk about anything they may be struggling with. They are essentially writing mastermind groups.
  • Writing classes are not writing groups in the strict sense of the phrase, but they can be depending on how the organization or teacher leads the class. Some writing classes offer group help after the class, whether online or in person.
  • Genre-based writing groups only accept authors who write for a specific genre, like romance or sci-fi. Their meetings focus on topics germane to their genres.

Finally, some writers groups may encompass two or more of these categories. That’s why you must research a group before attending so that your expectations are properly set.

Now, as to what kind of group you need to join, ask yourself, “What does my writing need right now?”

If your craft is lacking, join a critique group, an educational group, or attend a writing class.

If your motivation has dried up, join a programmatic writers group or a discussion-based group. If you’re serious about getting better within your particular genre, find a group centered on your genre.

If you have no idea what to choose, join the closest writers group to you that seems like a good fit and that you can commit to for at least a year.

That writers group just may change your writing life.

How to find a writers group

Lastly, how can you find a writers group?

Begin your search by locating in-person groups. Give yourself a reason to get away from your desk at least once a month.

Search “writers group” at Meetup.com. The results will show you writers groups within your preferred radius of your chosen city.

If you don’t find a compelling group at Meetup, search “[your city name] writers group” on Google. Click on the first group that seems interesting, then read as much as you can about them. For any lingering questions, email the coordinator. Put their next meeting on your calendar and force yourself to attend.

Lastly, for IRL writers groups, see if your city, area or state has an organization that aggregates writing groups. For instance, the North Texas area is spoiled by W.O.R.D., Writers Organizations ‘Round Dallas, a website that has compiled multiple writing groups in the area and sends out a monthly email newsletter listing every group’s events.

If you’re unable to find a worthwhile writers group within a drivable distance, or other issues may prevent you from venturing out of your house, online writers groups are a serviceable substitute. They can provide each of the same helpful attributes that real-life groups offer.

To that end, The Write Life offers these two excellent resource-filled articles for finding an online writing group:

The right writers group can launch your writing life into its next — and possibly its best — phase yet.

May you find your writing tribe soon!

The post Why You Need to Join a Writing Group (And How to Find One) appeared first on The Write Life.

Road To Success

Road To Success – How To Navigate The Road Ahead To Ensure That You Meet All The Goals You Have Set

An article from Mark Ford which helps you plan your own road to success so that you can be sure to meet all the goals and targets that you have set yourself both personally and professionally.

mark ford

Mark Ford

Hello, Mark Ford here. Today I want to help you create a real plan of action so that you can maximise the potential that you have and create a lifestyle of freedom and choice for you and your nearest and dearest.

The road is long with many a winding turn are the opening lyrics to a fantastic song of the 1960’s called He’s My Brother by the Hollies which if you haven’t heard it before then check it out on YouTube. These lyrics could be the opening statement to the plan that you are going to create to plot your own road to success.

There are many elements that you need to put into place so that you can achieve the ultimate success within your life, whether that is for personal or business interests.

Now I must warn you that success doesn’t come easy and why should it? If something is worth having, then you should be prepared to put the work in and not just rely on hope and giving it a go. The world owes you nothing!

Total commitment from the start is needed, you must give 100% at all times and there is no room for having the attitude of let’s try it because you know what is going to happen.

As soon as the road to success starts to get bumpy you are going to use your get out of jail card and say it “didn’t work out” because that is the mindset you have had from the outset. You are saying to yourself “I told you so”. Well done you have succeeded in failing! – Rather, what did you learn from that?

road to success

Road To Success

You must have the mindset that you must have success, nothing else will do and you will walk through brick walls to get it. You will then be setting yourself up the best way you can. Saying this though you must realise that it’s not enough, success is still not guaranteed because you must learn specific skills sets that will equip you with what you need.

I am now going to share with you the key ingredients for a smooth journey along your road to success which will instil into you the must have attitude instead of just wanting things and wishing they would happen. My only pre-requisite is that you are committed to changing your life, if you are not then you may as well click away from this page because you are not going to get any value from it. Will you read on?

Great you are still with me which fills me with hope that however long your road to success is, and not everybody’s is the same, you will arrive at your final destination.

Road to Success – Your Why And Purpose

finding your why

Finding Your Why

You can’t take the first step without knowing why you are starting this journey. This is something that you will have to sit down and think very hard about so that you come up with your mission in life.

Your road to success should only have one direction and that obviously is forward but if you don’t know the direction you want your life to go then you run the peril of engaging in reverse gear and fall into the trap of 1 step forward and 2 steps back.

This is wasted time which you will never get back. You must know what you want in life and the person you want to become. When you discover that then this is the direction that you must follow.

There is a simple process that you can go through to find your mission and purpose and it involves asking yourself 3 questions.

  1. What are you good at?
  2. What do enjoy doing?
  3. How can you use these to help society?

Road To Success – Start To Take Action

Your first step is to start forming good habits that will help you achieve your goals. So take some time to think of the things that are most important and useful for you to undertake daily. Habits take time and you should be looking at around 30 – 60 days for it to become second nature for you to perform these tasks.

At first you will be motivated to create them then after about 10 days you may experience that it starts to become a little bit harder and then you will look for excuses not to do it. Here is where you will need some discipline to not give up, so you must plough on.

When you get to the 20-day period things will start to get easier, the habit is starting to form, and the sweet spot is when you get to the 30-day period where things start to become effortless, you will not have to consciously think about doing things and it will be second nature.

So now the habits have been formed but you must realise that it will take longer to see the results you want so don’t get despondent because they will come. Give yourself at least 100 days, roughly 3 months and then you will become more confident, start getting traction and gain momentum.

Road to Success – Be Positive

positive attitudeYou must erase all negativity from your life and this starts with you.

Your mindset must be positive and here is why.

If you think negatively then you will not see the opportunities when they present themselves because it won’t hit home, but if you are a positive thinker then your mind is a lot clearer and you can recognise the opportunity right in front of your eyes.

So how can you get into a positive mindset. The first is to stop reading the newspapers or watching the news on television. Let’s face it there is not a lot of good news in the world when it comes to the media and positivety is not at the top of their agendas. It’s usually half way through the paper or just a brief mention in their broadcast.

Also when it comes to music don’t listen to stuff that is depressing with sad lyrics because more than often it will make you cry and set of bad memories that you can’t shake out of your head.

Another thing to do is not listen to negative advice, negativity breeds negativity and you will come across people whose mission in life is to be miserable and take down everybody who is around them. We all have a circle of influence, people who we mix with all the time so look at your inner circle and weed out the doom and gloom merchants and disassociate yourself from them. This is going to be one of the hardest things that you must do but for you to reach the final destination on your road to success you must do it!

In many ways you must become ruthless for the sake of your own future and destiny and if you look at some of the most successful people in history this is what they have done.

When you have weeded out these people you must then seek out positive people to replace them. Positivity leads to positivity by mixing with like minded people who all have the same direction in life. You can brainstorm with them and even collaborate with them to help each other to reach goals.

Road To Success Video

Published by Kerwin Rae

Road To Success – Don’t Quit

don't quitOnly losers quit when times get tough and they will for sure. You must develop a never say die attitude, keep looking at your final destination and develop the belief that you can arrive there.

Be determined, persistent and continue to take the action steps that are needed. Look at the likes of the late Steve Jobs who started Apple with his friend in his garage or Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame who started in his spare bedroom. If they had quit, then you wouldn’t be able to use your MacBook Pro to log onto Amazon and do all your shopping! Hopefully you get my point.

Road to Success – Love Your Work

Everything becomes so much easier if your love your work. Don’t spend the 40 odd years of your life doing something you hate which millions of people all around the world do sadly. If you love your work you will wake up in the morning inspired to do some good for the world through the actions that you take.

That is something I want to highlight. When you take action, it leads to inspiration. You may do something which then gives you another idea, the light bulb moment which could be your next big project, something that could even change the world. That may be a bold statement, but you never know!

Road to Success – Be Healthy And Develop

You must be healthy in both your mind and body and the only way to do that is to make the right decisions. Eat healthy and exercise regularly, it is not rocket science, put good ingredients into your mouth and burn it off through an exercise regime that you stick to.

Energy levels will increase which leads to more productivity in the actions you take, which results in success.

Always look to improve your physical and mental skill sets. Look at personal development, the areas where you can improve then seek the professional help you need which will expand your inner circle of positive people.

These are the steps you need to take to create and follow your own road to success. It won’t be easy but is anything in life worth it if it is? Let me know your comments below on anything that I have shared with you and be sure to share with me your success stories when they happen. Just follow these steps.

I wish you every success in running your home business from anywhere in the world on the road to success!

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Mark FordHome Business Lifestyle and Blogging Coaching with Mark Ford, loyally stepping up for others SO THAT they are given inner peace.

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