In Praise of Writing Groups

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What’s around the next corner?

My curiosity to discover what’s around the next corner meant that, from an early age, I’ve had a love of stories. However, despite my love of writing, I hesitated in making the next step, which is to share stories. For this reason I was more than a little amused when I heard about a recently released film, titled “Authors Anonymous”.

From the title, I can imagine a bunch of writers sat in a circle, with each one taking their turn to stand up and tell the group why they are here. I see myself standing up, nervously coughing, before launching into: “My name’s Katie, and I’m a writer”. They say admitting it is half the battle, LOL!

The film deals with the conflict created by a new member turning out more successful than all the existing members put together. On reading the plot for this film, which I haven’t yet seen, I feel the need to speak out in praise of writing groups. I have discovered huge benefits in being part one of one. Below, I explain the best three reasons for joining:

You master the craft of writing

I have learnt more about writing from receiving critiques from fellow writers than I ever would have done on my own. My writing group is a sounding board, a focus group. With their help, I am learning to write stories with characters who come alive, whose emotions and conflict can be felt by the reader. You need to have a thick skin at times. However, as I can get too close to my own stories, the feedback is essential, in order to get ideas in perspective. Now, when I craft a story, I ask myself, how I can make readers care?

You Hear about opportunities

Through my writing group, I have heard about competitions, resources for writers, and freelance writing opportunities. I have also played my part in sharing inspirational stories and articles. We have discussions on everything from how to structure believable dialogue, to when, and how, to get published.

You receive invaluable support

It’s true to say that members of my writing group are all at different stages, with a few published, and others, like me, in the midst of long-term projects. At times, it’s overwhelming to think how far I have to go, before I cross the finishing line proudly holding my completed novel. What I get from my fellow writers is a sense that it doesn’t matter so much when I cross the finishing line. When I see that finish line appear on the horizon, I know they will all be hovering there, to cheer me on, and that’s what really counts.

Have you been part of a writing group? Did you find it beneficial? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

P.S. My writing group is Sky Writers. You can look us up here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/SkyWrite

About Katie Hamer

I am a writer, an artist, a photographer, philosopher, interior designer, listener, and explorer.
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8 Responses to In Praise of Writing Groups

  1. sjoycarlson says:

    I’ve been a part of several writing groups. I’ve learned so much from them both from getting and giving feedback. I would not be the writer I am today had I not been a part of them.

  2. Topaz says:

    Sneaking in an advert for Sky Writers, I see… very sneaky, Katie! 😉 I couldn’t agree more – this group has been just invaluable to me when it comes to feedback, opportunities, writer chat, and really everything in between! All of us have grown so much because of the lovely critiques, I think… 🙂

    • Katie Hamer says:

      Thanks, Topaz. It’s also a great privilege to see everyone’s stories developing. I’ve made a huge decision about my work in progress, which is both exciting and scary. I hope to be sharing with you soon!

  3. Mirel says:

    Of course writing groups are great! I wouldn’t have met you guys without it!

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