Finding the right writing group Pt. 1

Or…making your own writing group Pt 1. I’ve decided to do this post in parts because I don’t want to have one post that’s too long. ^_^

I have come to understand that many writers out there lack a face-to-face writing group, and I think this is a shame. Being face-to-face with someone changes your relationship. It’s been my experience that people have to be politer when speaking right to you, but not everyone adheres to this.

So, how do you find a writing group? Well, when I was first looking, I had the good fortune to be in Houston, which is large. Even there, though, I had to scour. My first step was to do an internet search for “writing groups, Houston, TX.” Luckily, I found several. Now I had to decide how far I was willing to drive for a writing group.

At the time, I thought, not far. I started with the nearest group. They only met once a month, and didn’t do critiques. They were more of a social group, and not what I was looking for. The second group I went to was planning to dissolve the next day. Just too late for that one. I had to go further afield (30 mins) and just like Goldilocks, the third group seemed just right.

The third group met weekly. They collected dues. For joining the group, each person could bring ten pages and have them read aloud before everyone present did a cursory, out loud, from the hip critique. Their numbers seemed good if a little schizo. Some nights we had fifteen to twenty people, some nights three or four. They met in Barnes and Noble, which made it difficult to read swearing or sex or violence out loud. It was the best I’d found, but I still wasn’t happy.

Soon after joining, a group of three women invited me to their after-writing-group-coffee session. And I am soooo glad I went. We talked about everything that was wrong with the group. We talked about what we would do differently. More people joined our coffee session, and they got in on the discussion. After about six months of talking, we decided to act. We formed our own writing group that would meet at our houses.

Of the founding members of Writer’s Ink, only two remain, but since we started, we’ve had quite an eclectic group, and I couldn’t be happier with the six we have now. In my next post, I’ll tell you about our baby steps and flirtation with “rules”, how we found members, and occasionally, how we were forced to get rid of them.

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3 thoughts on “Finding the right writing group Pt. 1

  1. Sounds like my experiences. It is hard to maintain a face to face at times. Especially from smaller communities. However, it is well worth it once you get the details ironed out.

    Which, of course, is a whole ‘nother post!

  2. I remember the after parties… I’d still be in, if I were there. Haven’t found anything like it since. I’ve tried to start one over here (France) but scheduling seems more erratic over here than there (nights are not friendly) and the level of seriousness is lacking from most prospective members. For now, due to my being geographically-challenged, I’ve had to settle for a loose trio of moonlighters… we email back and forth. Still just isn’t the same. Glad to know W.I. is going strong.

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