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Thursday, April 21, 2011


Adventures in Creating a Writers' Group, Part 2

It's only a few hours since I met with those interested in joining the writers' group I mentioned in a previous post. As you may recall, I'm a regional (three-county) representative for a statewide writers group.

My list of preparations for the gathering started with great intentions. I had planned to email everyone I had on my list and get confirmations. I had planned to sort out a few writing exercises to introduce and had a bunch of ideas for clever, memorable introductions. I had even planned to pass out little goodies at the end.

Time worked against me and suddenly the day arrived and I had yet to accomplish any of my goals. Fortunately, the statewide group had sent an e-newsletter and a local reporter had picked up on it.

We met in a little-traveled, back area of a used bookstore. The staff was incredibly accommodating and the owner was thrilled to let us use the space. She's agreed to our meeting every two weeks.

Other preparations I made included reading up on setting up a writers' group. However, part of the restriction I have is, as a representative of an organization, I have to think of a more open format than an invitation-only situation. But in the interest of the 7 folks who showed up (including the author of a book on starting a writers' group). The introductions included the question: What do you want to get out of this group? This was a talkative bunch and we were rarely at a loss for words.

The majority were looking for a critique group with lukewarm interest in seminars on marketing, self-publishing, or hearing from successful writers. (There was interest...just not a lot.)

I'll detail some of the formats and inner-workings of critique groups in my next post.

My question this week is if you were interested in joining a writers' group, would you look for a critique group exclusively or would you want to join a group that might have writing exercises one week, a visiting writer the next and a few critiquing workshops intermingled?

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer and editor living in coastal North Carolina.

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Blogger Sioux said...

Personally, I would like the majority of gatherings to be critique-oriented, with perhaps once every 3-4 sessions devoted to a visiting writer/writing exercises. Or, perhaps having critique always available (electronically), and have every other session devoted to a writer/writing exercise.

3:38 AM  
Anonymous Ja'Nese said...

I agree with Sioux that I would like to participate in a hybrid group. I believe having the critique sessions are great but you can't learn too much about marketing, character development, etc.

10:01 PM  

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