Writing can be a lonely business and finding time to attend a traditional writing group may come last on your list. However, networking is the key factor for the development of your writing style, voice and hopefully, publication.
An online group means you can join in when and where you like.
Putting up a notice in your local library is a good start and most people browse the advert section in the supermarket. If you want to spread the net a little wider, write to your local paper or better still a writing journal. Many of the magazines for writers now have a section dedicated to writers groups.
Finding a ‘Place’ to Meet
An online group can exist through the exchange of emails, but with the technology available, it is easy to become more interactive. There are many places you can set up a site, quickly, with ease and free. Check out the social networking sites like Spruz or you can use one of the messaging platforms like Google Chat or Windows Live Messenger. If you really want to be shouting about what you do, make sure you set up a ‘fan’ page on Face book or Twitter.
Making it a Fun Place to be
If you and your members have fun and enjoy what you are doing, the chances are your writing will develop. Many writers are reluctant to share their writing but with some guidance, constructive criticism and a safe place to upload projects, they will soon come out of their shell. Several elements make a writing group tick. These include creative writing prompts that provide inspiration, writing challenges for submitting and receiving feedback, writing exercises to develop a particular part of the process and competitions to provide the motivation.
Small is Beautiful
Many social networking groups have hundreds of members and pride themselves on it. However, to make a writing community work a limit is essential so that members don’t feel overwhelmed and so that they can get to know one another. A membership of between 8 and 16 is ideal and you can always keep a waiting list of potential members.
Involve the Members
Setting up a group can be time consuming and can eat into your writing time. Many writers understand the pressures of deadlines and will be willing to share the day-to-day administration of the site. It also helps to develop the relationships between members as well as the group as a whole.
Keep Things Simple
Writers like simplicity. Find out what the members want and agree what your purpose is. A mix of writing genres helps to develop skills. A personal page for members provides them with a show case as well as publicises the site. Blogs, forums and groups need to be managed and active.
Once you have belonged to a buzzing site full of writers like you with stories to tell and share, you will never look back.
This content was provided by one of our users, Giovanna