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Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Right Tools for Planning a Writing Group

Yep, using the right tools for planning a writing group can make it a whole lot easier. In my on-going attempts to set up and continue the regional writing group (a three-county section of the larger state organization), I had done all the "right" things: I had a list of members from the area; I had a list I collected at the first meeting; I had agreement from a used bookstore to use their backspace on a regular basis.
I started looking at e-newsletter programs, convinced that was the direction I should be going. I needed those tools to help build my writers' group. After all, this was going to be a expanding group. Even if I was volunteering for it, being around writers and creatives the cost would be worth it. But I couldn't decided on a program to use. Email would have to be my right tool. A week before the meeting, I rushed to send out an email to re-cap our first meeting and setup the second meeting. I asked the folks what they wanted to do and figured our second meeting would be spent hashing out the details about who was branching off into critique groups and who wanted to attend our programs presented by local writers.
I arrived at the meeting place and time. The bookstore had written in wobbly chalky penmanship "Writing Group Tonight" on its sandwich board outside. Passers-by, I was told, were expressing interest. It all seemed like it was coming together, I thought as I waited for the group to appear.
(The suspense is building!)
How exciting that this was actually happening, I thought during my second half-hour of waiting.
I started calling my husband at that time and was willing to sit it out longer, I would just double-check what I wrote in my email. Maybe I'd put the wrong time? The wrong place?
The more I searched my email folders, the more I realized: I hadn't sent it out, at all? Could that have really been the case?
Without getting into details, I drafted another email. This time, I hit send (cc-ing myself as a guarantee) and the responses started floating in.
Now, if I can make sure that I have a speaker for next time, we'll be doing well and, hopefully, growing our little group. And getting back to writing.

What tools do you recommend for keep in touch with a group? What tools have worked for you? And has it every happened to you...when you thought you'd sent an email and you hadn't?

Elizabeth King Humphrey, who is in the midst of a month-long blogathon at The Write Elizabeth, is a writer in North Carolina.


  1. A friend I knows uses a wiki for her group. She loves it, because people can add onto it...

    However, a group I work with just uses email, and we reply to "all" to make sure everyone is in the loop.

    I've done that once---thought I sent it, and it had stayed in draft mode---and then wondered why I didn't get any response. It's the downside of technology. We don't have that option with using the phone...We KNOW darned good and well if we've called or not...

  2. I lead the KC Writes for Kids group and I created a yahoo group where I post links and other writer information. I listen to what they want to learn more about and gather the information for them. I call it a one stop shop. Thanks.

  3. Sioux - That's comforting that I'm not the only one who's done that!

    Kristi and Sioux - I'll have to check out both the wiki idea and the Yahoo group. Thanks for the suggestions!


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