- Writing is a solitary profession, as I already mentioned. Writing groups are support groups for people willing to do extremely solitary stuff with their lives to talk about the solitary work they may not have shared yet with anyone, in a welcoming, non-judgemental environment, where respecting other people's work is the number one, golden rule.
- Writers love writing because they love reading, well...that's a known fact. This means that it's a community of people who get the writing process, and are willing to help, that are genuinely invested in your creative process unconditionally.Because writers spend so much time working in a solitary environment they need this type of support which is why these types of groups are important.
- Writing is one of those things heavily populated by shy introverts. Reality is that those who write not just for fun have to get good at also being their own self-promoter, while thinking like an entrepreneur. Writers also have to read and perform their work, or pitch their work in person at least once in their career. Unfortunately many of the things I've mentioned above are tiring and not easy pursuits for shy introverts. I fully realize that not all writers are introverts although the solitary reality of being a writer attracts lots, and lots of introverts. Writing groups are a good practice environment, that's unconditionally supportive, where failing, and admitting you have no idea what you're doing, and making mistakes, rarely has any consequences. It's a good place to get use to stepping outside your comfort zone, where people will respect you for trying.
If you write in any genre or know a writer you're probably aware that it's a very solitary pursuit. There's nothing wrong with that although too much alone time with thoughts is problematic. Also: everyone has their limits on how much alone time they can stand. Some of my most important life decisions have been made quietly, in the spaces I find most comfortable, while doing solitary activities, although I also recognize how great it is to just get out there and talk to people. But how do you do that in a field that, unlike conventional workplaces you don't always have people to rely on? Well...one highly effective way many writers deal with the solitary nature of their profession are writer's groups. I wanted to write this blog entry to share with you why I think writer's groups are fantastic and anyone who writes should be part of one. I've had the privilege of being part of writing groups from the time I was a teenager, who was only just beginning to experiment with a variety of different writing genres, while realizing that writing was something I love passionately, and wanted to also spend as much of my adult life as possible doing, up until I started to get my first professional writing gigs, shortly after finishing university. What Writing Groups Are Like: Most writing groups are extremely diverse in terms of age, life experiences, people's backgrounds in writing, etc. The exceptions are the ones that are either intended for a particular age group or the ones that are run at places like universities, where it's a very specific community, and not as diverse as the community centre and library based writer's groups. Writing groups are all about learning from each other and helping each other, kind of like your average classroom, except a lot more informal. Typically there's someone in charge, that keeps the conversations going and leads the discussion although what sets writing groups apart from a typical classroom setting is that although the leader will sometimes take on a teaching role they're learning from everyone else as much as everyone else is learning from them, instead of your typical student/teacher hierarchy. The average writing group goes like this: people will informally talk as a group about writing related topics, people bring in their own writing, and the people that bring in their writing read what they've brought, followed by an informal group feedback session. If you've ever workshopped a script or taken a creative writing class you will recognize this format, if not well...you understand it now. Why are writer's groups so valuable?