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Friday, July 8, 2016

Writers Groups: Worth the Trouble?

Joining a writer's group or not is your business. I really don't care if you do or don't. What I do care about is if you're happy with your choice. My first reaction to being involved with a group is don't.

And then I realized I belong to three.

A little bit of history here. Early in my writing life, I attended workshops and conferences. Consistent advice was to join a group. Read. Comment. Listen. Revise. I did and ran myself ragged following the advice of a lot of people. Some I respected. Most I didn't. My writing suffered, time management went out the window, and productivity wallowed.

For me, what I needed to develop as a writer was time alone on my mountaintop. In the years that passed, I enjoyed a robust career. My confidence bloomed and my skin toughened.

Newburyport Writers

The first writers group I joined focused on networking with others engaged in all aspects of the written craft and the writing business. Corporate bloggers, editors, ghost writers, publishers, journalists, mystery authors, traditional and independently published, wanna-bees, marketeers, and more. You name it, this group has it, and our meetings knit our commonalities and scratched our common itch--whatever that may be. Our monthly potluck dinners are informative, connective, and time well spent.

The years passed and relationships formed. My periscope was not up, so I was surprisingly pleased when I was approached by two writers' groups and invited to join. One is a critique group focused on the craft, the other is a business group focused on branding and business best practices. The members of both are women for whom I have a great deal of respect. They are accomplished in their own right with deep skills and experience. And they are willing to share and wanting to cultivate. Wow.

As fate would have it, their timing was perfect. I had hit a rough patch and stalled. The two new groups are forcing me to be accountable and to stretch for more.

These groups work for me. They fit. I wish you the same.

What about you? Are you in a group or do you prefer to go it alone?