Two weeks ago I asked the question, do you have a writing community? Although a writing community can be a haphazard hodgepodge of writing connections, an intentional solution will likely offer the best type of community. But what might a structured writing community look like and do? The answer covers a gambit of options. Here are six:
- Critique Group: The purpose of this writing community is to give one another feedback on our work. The success of these groups hinges on two things: the structure of how the critiques take place and the attitudes of the writers. Not all critique groups work for everyone.
- Support Group: The purpose of this writing community is to care for and encourage one another, sharing the joys and struggles of the writing journey. Consider it as self-directed group therapy for writers.
- Writing Circle: Similar to a support group, but with the focus on sharing our writing with one another, but not for a critique. It’s also a place to update each other on what we’re working on and our career plans, as well as our successes and failures.
- Accountability Partners: Do you need someone to check up on you to make sure you’re writing every day and doing what you said you would? Then you need an accountability partner. Just keep in mind that it’s often a fine line between holding someone accountable and nagging—and no one likes a nag.
- Discussion Groups: The goal of a discussion group is to read books and talk about them. While most groups consider their reaction to the words, writers will gain more by analyzing the authors writing style, techniques, and voice.
- Craft Groups: The purpose of craft groups is to mutually help one another become better writers. At each meeting, one person takes a turn to share an aspect of writing he or she is good at (or at least one step ahead of the rest of the group) or to research and teach one facet of writing.
There are many similarities between these options and much room for overlap. Often, groups will focus on one area, while dabbling in a few others, be it as needed or consistently. While there’s great value for these interactions to occur in person, when it isn’t an option, online groups offer a great alternative.
The important thing is for writers to seek community.
Are you in a writing community? What does it look like?
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.