I love a fresh start and now that the tree is down, the cards put away and the bottles are in the recycling, I’m ready to greet 2012 with my first post of the year. Thank you for following me and I hope that I’ll be able to generate discussion about books and writing. In this post, I’m thinking about writing groups.
Receiving feedback on written work is always valuable. Typos alone are difficult to spot and being confident that you’ve met the needs of your reader is never easy. That’s when the advice of a critical friend is particularly helpful. Presenting work for comment can be a daunting experience but one that may identify strengths and areas for development. Writing groups are an excellent way to share work, particularly when there is strong leadership/facilitation and committed members who ensure that participants enjoy a supportive environment. If I were able to have an ideal group, it would include the following:
- 4-6 people, including some experienced writers
- A focus either on poetry or prose
- Monthly scheduled meetings
- Opportunities for critical feedback, writing activities and tasks
- A comfortable venue with access to refreshments
Indeed, my ideal is similar to the writing group I currently attend but it’s not always easy to find a group that works for you. As an alternative, you might like to consider starting your own group, but if you go down this route, it is worth ensuring that the boundaries are clear:
- Develop terms of reference that identify what the group hopes to achieve, how the group will operate, ground rules
- Be clear about the roles and responsibilities for participants, facilitators/group leaders
- Have an understanding of group dynamics
Alternatively, it’s worth considering an on-line forum. My New Year Resolution is to showcase an example of my writing each month on this blog. By linking the post to the #fridayflash community, I increase my visibility as a writer and receive feedback on my work. It’s also a fun way to meet other writers, read their work and share experiences. If you’re interested in becoming part of an on-line writing community, have a think about joining this group.