Joining a writers group is the best thing that’s happened to my writing. I’ve been wanting to join a writers group since I started taking my writing seriously (several years ago now). And my wish came true! I was invited to join a local writers group with four lovely, talented writers. I’m so lucky they asked me to be a part of their group. Here’s why.
I’ve got more motivation to write.
Since joining a writers group, I’m writing more than ever! We share a chapter of our work-in-progress each month, enter the monthly Furious Fiction competition run by the Australian Writers Centre, and encourage each other to enter short story competitions. Writing as part of a group who support and encourage each other to keep going has increased my output tenfold. The added bonus? The more you write, the more you learn and improve. I’ve noticed my writing has improved more in the past few months than it has in the past few years.
I’ve learned so much from giving and receiving feedback.
I’ve now got four experienced writers giving me feedback on a chapter of my work each month. When you’ve read what you’ve written so many times you’re barely processing the words anymore, having other sets of eyes on your work can really help you see it in a different light. It’s amazing what the other writers have picked up in my story that I never would have noticed or considered. My story is so much the better for it. I’ve also learned from reading their writing, about their creative processes and techniques.
I brushed up on my grammar and punctuation.
Confession. I had no idea what an en-dash or an em-dash were until the lovely ladies in my writers group explained them to me. Now, while I certainly wouldn’t call myself an expert on all things dashes, at least I’m no longer incorrectly using hyphens! While I thought I was pretty savvy with grammar and punctuation, it wasn’t until I met the expert proofreaders in my writing group that I realised I still have a little way to go. I’m so thankful they’ve saved me from embarrassing myself by submitting work with dodgy formatting and flaws.
I’ve learned that other writers are just like me.
We’ve all got similar doubts about our writing, the same anxieties about submitting our work and the same dreams and aspirations. And through our love of all things writing, we’ve formed a lovely friendship. Anna, Jodie, Kylie, and Lane: I’m so lucky to have met you. Thank you for inviting me to be part of your group, for sharing your work with me, and for your invaluable advice and support.
(A big shout-out also goes to my long-distance writing buddy, Sarah Fiddelaers, who I also share writing with, as well as our ups-and-downs of receiving professional feedback and contemplating multiple re-workings of our entire manuscripts!)
Lots of writers talk about how it can be a lonely business. But you don’t have to do it alone if you don’t want to! There’s plenty of writers groups out there. While I was fortunate enough to be invited to join my writers group, and even more fortunate when it turned out to be the perfect group for me, there are plenty of places you can find the group for you. Check the writers centre near you (for example, Queensland Writers Centre) or search online for a virtual writers group. And if all else fails, why not start one yourself?
Are you in a writers group? Let me know your favourite thing about being in a writers group in the comments below.