Advantages and Disadvantages of a Writers Group

A little over a year ago, thanks to a friend, I joined a local writers group.  I had always wanted to join one but didn’t know any around.  That’s not entirely true, one of the bookstores had one but from what I had seen of it, I wasn’t impressed.  Plus they met at an inconvenient time.  So my friend gets me involved with this group she’s a member of, I go to the first meeting, and I am glad I took the plunge.

Now I have been, and am, a member of several writing places online.  Some I have used in the past and some I never got around to exploring the website very much.  Honestly some sites are more difficult than others to peruse and figure out how to use them to help you as a writer.

This group is great because we meet every month and it is the same people over and over.  Or at least many of the same people since life can get in the way of people returning or coming to meetings some months, plus right now we are seeing a HUGE growth.  Consistency is what I like here.

I don’t always take my work for critique but I have many times.  The first piece was a short story which became my first novel.  I don’t think without going to this group and brining that piece I would be where I am today as a writer.  The biggest comment I received was that there was a story there; it couldn’t end where it did for the short story.  That was September and come NaNoWriMo of said year, I decided to find out what that story was and haven’t looked back.

I have received some good and bad feedback from people when I’ve gone.  One such incident was a novel I have since decided to not finish, where I was told there was too much exposition and not enough action.  So I cut it down and returned the following month, to be told there wasn’t enough exposition (no this is not the reason I decided to stop writing this novel) much to my aggravation.  However other times I get things which do improve the writing or at least make me think how to do something differently, especially when it’s not something I saw on my own.

The biggest disadvantage though, is we have a three page limit.  So that several people can bring their work in for critique it makes sense and I understand it, but the need to have the entire thing read is crucial for someone to critique the piece effectively.  However with the new blood in our group came an idea for those with novels to have a different group, within the current one, so that one person CAN read your manuscript all the way through.  Yeah what a novel idea, no pun intended, but something that wasn’t really addressed or offered this way previously.

I do think writers groups are highly valuable and worth to join, provided you can get honest criticism and not take it personally (we have had one person who did and never returned).  It’s just a matter of finding one which works for you and dealing with whatever constraints there are.

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About awritersprocess
I have been a writer longer than I can remember. It started with poems in grade school and evolved into the manuscripts, articles, and blogs that I currently write for. My desire to become an editor came later in life but I am no less passionate about that as I am about writing. I have a BA in English (with a minor in History) and have even taken a proofreading class through Editorial Freelancers Association. I am a writer for hire.

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