History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

The Value of a Writer’s Group

Multiple people working togetherEven before I started writing fiction, my then-boyfriend (now-husband) introduced me to his writer’s group. Affectionately nicknamed the “Type and Gripe,” they were local like-minded speculative fiction authors who got together every other week to sit down and put words on virtual paper. (sometimes actual dead tree paper. We don’t judge.) It wasn’t exactly a critique group, though we sometimes shared manuscripts for critiques. It was more of a writer’s support group, for those of us dedicated enough to get words on paper and then try to get those words out into the larger world.

Since then, we’ve started meeting twice weekly–one regular evening after work, and one regular morning on the weekend. We don’t always get writing done. Sometimes, we’re too busy with the “griping” portion of our nickname. Sometimes we’re too distracted. Or goofing off. Or all of the above.

But in the eight and a half years, we’ve also been productive, thanks to the group impetus to just keep writing. For a while, I was in charge of yelling “SUBMIT” at a couple of the authors who had a lot of short stories written, but no good method of keeping them in circulation at viable markets. We applaud each others’ successes and lament each others’ disappointments. We’ve all been critiquers, beta readers, and even reviewers of each other’s stories, novels, and more. We help each other out with projects, whether they be fiction or website copy. In the end, we’ve become more of a family than just a mere writer’s group.

Sometimes, it takes a lot of work to find the right writer’s group, and sometimes, you just fall into the right place. You may have to go through a number of groups before you get there. You might make friends in person or online, depending on your location and the numbers of other authors near you. Living in Seattle, there is no shortage of writer’s groups, but only one is my wacky bunch of nerds and weirdos who take great joy in the nerdery and weirdness of each other. But though my mom and both of my sisters have also written, they’re not all the right fit for my group. (Never mind the fact that they all live in the Midwest.)

Whether you find your writer’s group in person or online, I hope that you, too, can find your writing family, like I have.

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