Few things are more important in a writer’s life than a support group. When I was attempting to tackle NaNoWriMo the first time, I did so without telling anyone. I had no one encouraging me. It was lonely, and although the words flowed and I hit the 50,000-word goal, the story was not a novel. It was just a draft of a story without an end. The second time I tackled NaNoWriMo, I enlisted a few friends to cheer me on: to constantly ask me how I was doing, and whether I was keeping up with the word count. That made all the difference. That second time around I wrote The Peacock’s Tale. Of course, it took endless revisions and editing before I was ready to self-publish the book, but I would never have gotten that far if it had not been for that support group.
Soon afterward I, by chance, had a conversation with another senior who was looking for a group to join that would encourage creative writing. That led to the creation of the Ink & Quill 55 and Over Writing Group sponsored by the Jesse Brock Senior Center in Winter Garden, Florida. It has been the one thing that has egged on my continuing to be serious about writing. Even though I facilitate the group, I think I have learned even more than the others in the group!
Here are five reasons to motivate you to find a group to join. Try out some groups and find one that works for you.
- Writers groups provide a social network for you. Writing can be very isolating. Making friends that have the same interest as you, helps to reinforce your commitment to writing. Having a place to go where you feel safe, and are respected by each member as you share your work is very nurturing.
- Writers groups support your creative process. Writing groups encourage you to write on a schedule. They help you to explore different types of writing. They can educate you about writing and the writing process.
- Writers groups expose you to different writing than your own. You can learn from paying attention to what and how others have written.
- Writers groups help to teach you how to accept and give feedback. No one wants to be judged, but if you want to grow in producing quality work, it is important you are open to criticism. Learning to listen to good feedback and being able to decide what you will act on is a learning process too. By listening to what others have written helps you recognize what is written well and what needs some work.
- Writers groups help you to practice writing. There is no better learning tool for writing than to write. To become better at writing, you must write. Having prompts from which to write helps you to be disciplined. It gives you a reason to write.
Have you found writing groups to be helpful? What has worked for you? Please share by commenting below.