The Right Writers Group
Updated: Mar 5, 2021
Writing is a loner's job. You work alone even when the house is bustling with kids, stealing away to write your secret words, worried all the while that a critic is looking over your shoulder. When a manuscript finally comes together, you never feel more vulnerable than the first time you allow someone else to see it. And then it's like waiting for a pie in the face as the reader stumbles or breezes through your hard chosen words. But whom have you tasked with the job of being your reader? Another writer? No matter how supportive your partner or friends are, if they aren't in the struggle to write, they probably can't provide the analysis or candor to help your story improve.
At some point most writers wonder if they need to join a writing group, but taking that step is loaded with pie-in-the-face-anxiety too. What can another unpublished author offer you? What can you offer them? The answer is, so much. The biggest benefit of working with other writers is to be on a place where everyone can try and fail, try again, start over and finally finish writing a manuscript that's ready to be queried.
I asked the members of my middle-grade critique group if they would share their thoughts about finding and working in a writing group. Fantasy author Lorraine Hawley, whose first novel is slated for release in 2022, shared this insight:
Q: How do you know when a writing group is right for you? A: Few people understand writing perils more than those who struggle through it themselves. The biggest gift a strong writing group can provide is encouragement.
If you have found the right critique group, they have your best interest at heart. They also know your voice and can help brainstorm. If you are uncomfortable sharing ideas or encounter argumentative members, you should find another group.
Motivation is another key component of a solid group. By setting a day to meet and turn in work, you all stay on track. I have made amazing friends in writer's groups. Lifelong. We muck in the query trenches, then hopefully, as published authors, we continue to support each other's journey. Finding your perfect writing group may take a few tries, but it is a treasure worth the hunt. Together you rise.
Middle-Grade Children's Author www.lorrainehawley.com