What are the pros and cons to joining an unpublished writers club or group?
- The most beneficial reason to joining a club is that it allows you to keep up with your writing. Most of us (whether we admit it or not) do procrastinate when it comes to sitting down and working on our writing. A weekly (or monthly) meeting would make writing a priority.
- Being part of a group allows your writing to be critiqued. Other people’s suggestions can refine the story details or help with the direction you want the story to go. This is particularly helpful if writer’s block is a problem.
- Members are introduced to new styles of writing, genres and books. This is also a great place to get tips on writing! Learning about conferences, contests and other book opportunities are more likely to happen in a club.
- An unpublished writers club is a great way to socialize with other writers. It’s also a support group to vent frustrations over things like writer’s block or grammar. Each member will learn how to critique the stories and (in turn) improve their own writing.
- If you aren’t ready to share your writing but want helpful tips, consider joining an online unpublished writers club. LinkedIn has multiple groups dedicated to every genre and aspect of writing.
Other Helpful Tips:
- A club should have set goals each meeting and stay on track. Meetings that don’t focus won’t stay together and the members will grow to resent the group. Though it is a place to socialize it’s also a place to focus on sharing new chapters, learning about publishing, etcetera.
- Critiques shouldn’t be personal and should be practical. If a member of the group is going to far with their suggestions then guidelines need to be made about how to critique other’s works. If you are someone that finds a lot of faults with other’s writing, remember this is a part of their heart. Don’t be harsh.
- Is the group interested in your genre of writing? For example, a nonfiction group wouldn’t be interested in Fantasy Fiction. Find the club that will benefit you.
- Are all the members of the club at the same “level” in their writing? It’s okay to have both published and unpublished members of the group. Potential problems may include jealously because one member is published. Another is if the published members of the group act like “wise guys.” This is what I suggest to prevent these problems. Keep the groups small (4 – 8 people) and here’s why: 1) Everyone will have a chance to share something each meeting. 2) You’ll know each other on a personal level which should make critiquing “easier”. 3) Setting up a place and time to meet will be easier. 4) A smaller group is less likely to have troubling issues rise up.
How do you find a group?
- Do an online search for your area.
- Talk to bookstores to see if they have a list of clubs.
- Create your own group by putting up flyers, an ad on craigslist and let bookstores know you’ve started an unpublished writers club.
- Be specific which type of writers you’d like to invite so that everyone gets the full benefits when joining.
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