You can’t spend all of your time writing alone. Eventually, you need to venture outside and learn the business of finding writing groups!
As writer’s, we like to spend time alone–you know, doing that whole ‘writing’ business. In fact, most of us are introverts and that’s why we chose this industry. To be alone with our thoughts.
However, to make it in the industry of publishing, you HAVE to get out and find yourself a writing group.
Everything You Need to Know on Finding Writing Groups:
Lone wolves don’t travel in packs. I hear you! But this time, you kind of have to.
What is a writer’s group?
By definition, a writing group is when 2 or more writers get together to chat about each other’s writing and collaborate on how to fix it. An important tool, especially before you decide to submit your manuscript.
But what if you’re really not comfortable sharing your words with others, because you’ve either:
- Been burned before?
- Not liked what they had to say?
- Been torn down and drug through the mud?
- Were fried like turkey on a stake?
I’d say, fair and valid worries. A writer’s group is an AMAZING resource for you, so long as you work at finding writing groups that will work for you. Which isn’t that hard to do, once you know what to look for.
What are the benefits of writing groups?
To help stifle some of your fears, and maybe reassure those of you who have a bad taste in your mouth, here are three ways that finding writing groups will benefit you and your writing:
1. You are able to ask questions.
When we’re new, it feels like there’s SOOOOO much to learn. And a lot of it, we didn’t even know we needed to learn! (Like who knew there was a right and wrong way to type out your manuscript? Wasn’t that what English class was for??)
If you have questions and want to talk to real humans about it, start with finding writing groups in your area. The public library is a great resource for this!
2. You have someone to read your stuff. (Even if it’s really rough!)
If you learned anything from the 5 major publishing mistakes I made, you know that you MUST have your manuscript reviewed.
The best part after finding writing groups that work for
The first time you go to a meeting, you don’t have to bring anything. Instead, you can sit and listen to other critiques to know what to expect and the process the group goes through.
3. You will have a group of friends that will be able to relate to you.
Writing is a lonely profession and, as much as our loved ones want to understand us, there are times where they have no idea what it takes to be a writer.
The final (and most uplifting) benefit to finding writing groups is having a group of friends you can talk writing with. These people understand how much it sucks to get 30 rejections on a fantastic story that you absolutely love.
They also are over-the-moon excited when you reach a new milestone (Write amazingly or get the offer) and CAN’T WAIT to go to your book signings and launch. Because they’re other writers, supporting writers.
How do you find a writer’s group?
- Start with your local library. We know that the library is the ultimate resource for writers, and one of those benefits is hosting events. Including writer’s groups. Check their site for meet-ups or talk to a librarian.
- Join SCBWI (the Society of Children’ s Book Writers & Illustrators). They have regional advisors for your state that can point you in the direction of a group that meets in your area.
- Find an online critique group. You can look through SCBWI or use a simple Google search based
offyour genre of interest. Make sure they’re on a credible site or have positive comments about them before signing up.
- Start your own group. I did that for my latest middle-grade
group,since there wasn’t another group around me that met up during the month. If you’re just starting out, I would wait to use this step unless you have a few other writer friends that you know.
A writer’s group is an invaluable resource for you as a children’s author. Once you understand the steps in finding writing groups, you will feel more confident in joining one.
Remember, you can ask questions, bring stories for them to read, and network with other writers in your area. And don’t be afraid to go! Writers don’t bite your flesh. They only like sinking their teeth into books. 😜
For more learning, check out these articles:
- How to be a Successful Children’s Author
- The #1 Resource for Writers
- How to Write a Children’s Book
- What to Expect at a Writer’s Conference
- The Best Reason to Find a Writing Mentor
- Writing Conferences 101- Video