1. canadianmint
    Offline

    canadianmint Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0

    Writer's Group... help!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by canadianmint, Aug 12, 2009.

    Okay so I joined a local writer's group because somewhere along my research someone said as a writer, it is a good idea.

    But now I am there, and wondering... is this a waste of time? I could be writing!

    I appear to be the only one working on a full manuscript plugging away and focused. Don't get me wrong, the people write but I want to hash out some general things like I find in these forums - people's experiences with plot, POV, style, etc. So far we mainly share (read out loud) something we have written and then get applauded.

    I've never been to a writer's group so I don't know what I should be expecting.

    So, my question is: What have your experiences been with writer's groups? And what part has been useful to you?
     
  2. Rumpole40k
    Offline

    Rumpole40k Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    7,290
    Likes Received:
    54
    Location:
    Paradise City, Street of the Gods
    The useful groups never flattered me or pandered to my ego. They kept me honest as far as writing and told me what worked and didnt't.
     
  3. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,528
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    Not all writing groups are equal. If it isn't productive for you, there is no reason to remain active.

    A writers group should be one that is active, honest, non-cliqueish (is that a word? ;) ), and furthers the writing careers of all members through reading and input, support and networking.

    A writer's group takes time from all members to participate but the payoff should equal the time and effort put in minimum.

    I wrote an article a while back that may help you determine if the current group is right for you: Five Considerations Before Joining a Crit Group.

    Good luck.

    Terry
     
  4. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    i'm not one who would recommend that... here's my take on the subject... all imo, of course, and not to be taken as 'gospel'...

    writing is and should be a solitary pursuit... writing groups can get more in the way, diverting one's attention and energy, than they can help...
     
  5. jwatson
    Offline

    jwatson Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    canada
    I agree with Maia on this one...
    I sometimes think it would be nice to be in a group like this, but I quote nearly every published author when I say writing is the loneliest job in the world.
    If they really are helping you, go for it, but it sounds its not and imo, I would rather be writing...
     
  6. Kas
    Offline

    Kas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    The ***hole of the world
    I think you're probably better off just getting help online from neutral parties or taking classes. It doesn't sound like your group is very constructive, and finding a good one could take a lot more time than it's worth.

    Also, if you get into a group where people speak up/crit more, you could end up being influenced in the wrong direction by opinionated members. It's a lot easier to maintain perspective from a distance, whereas in person you may not be so objective. You're more likely to be swayed by what's popular with them, and that may or may not be beneficial.

    I think small groups tend to get in a rut where certain opinions become "accepted truth". . and then new members are "indoctrinated" into this thinking, which may be completely wrong.

    This is why the internet is so great. You can post your work on any number of sites, and get virtually unlimited feedback. You don't have to put up with the limited views of a limited group. And you can get in touch with pros like maia online.;)

    How could a local club compete or compare?
     
  7. jonathan hernandez13
    Offline

    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Messages:
    5,040
    Likes Received:
    63
    Location:
    Mount Vernon New York
    you're better off getting feedback and peer review than creating work in a vaccum IMO

    but, some people may do the right things for the wrong reasons. If you are here to get a pat on the head and a tummy rub for a job well done, you may get some, but it may not make you a better writer.

    if you are here for stern (and honest and helpful) critiques, you may find those as well. Just remember that opinions are opinions and one person's trash is another person's treasure.
     
  8. daturaonfire
    Offline

    daturaonfire Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2009
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Nowhere
    I think writer's groups can be a great resource for aspiring authors. There's potential networking opportunties, and feedback and support when you need it. One of the groups where I live, some of them are published, and most are pursuing writing as a career. They're serious and professional. However, if you don't feel a connection with the group--they're not writing much, they're not taking it as seriously as you do, you guys are on different writing levels--get out and spare yourself a frustrating experience.
     
  9. CharlieVer
    Offline

    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Messages:
    0
    Likes Received:
    27
    Location:
    Raritan, NJ
    I'm a part of two writing groups, and I find different people go for different reasons. Some people have the idea that all feedback should be positive (the clapping) so as to encourage the discouraged writer. Others, like you (and me) look for specific feedback that can help with such areas as the examples you gave: plot, POV, style, etc.

    It's never easy when these two cultures mix. Constructive criticism can hurt the feelings of those in the first group, while those in the first group are unlikely to give valuable constructive criticism to those in the second.

    My suggestion is to search out alternative writing groups, start one of your own, or bring your concerns up openly and honestly with the group you're in: let them know that you're interested in discussing specific areas of improvement, not in applause to build your self esteem.

    The biggest problem I've found in groups is that there are too few minutes in the hour and too few hours in the meeting to be productive. There's a limited time for reading and criticism, especially if the group is large enough. In one group I'm in, they had to limit everyone to two pages, just so that everyone has a chance to share. That's hard for me, when I have a chapter of my book that's seven pages, and two pages is barely a taste of what the chapter is about. But I have gained some helpful insight from some of the meetings I've attended.

    Charlie
     
  10. Seppuku
    Offline

    Seppuku Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire, UK
    I remember reading some advice on writer's groups; there are some good ones and bad ones, the latter you should avoid of course, because they would be a waste of your time. I can't remember the advice, but if you feel that group is wasting your time, then maybe they are, that is if you aren't really getting anything beneficial from it.
     

Share This Page