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Monday, December 19, 2011

Five Benefits of a Writing Group

A Group of One's Own / A resource
to help start a successful writing group
Last week I heard a presentation by Charlene Pollano, co-author of A Group of One's Own: Nurturing the Woman Writer, about starting and managing a writers' group. (If you are considering creating a writers' group, Pollano's book is great place to start.) During the discussion that ensued, many of the writers attending mentioned the inner workings of their own writers' groups. Some grumbled while others praised their groups.

There are rules and regulations that vary from group to group--some attempt three critiques per two hours along with written feedback. Making a commitment to a writing group was also an important element of joining a group--can you commit to twice a month or just once a month?

During the discussion, I realized how niceties and courtesies can improve the experiences of writers in a group. However, critiquing can be tough. All the participants of the group underscored the need for creating guidelines for contributing to a group--including the type of feedback to provide writers to make the group worthwhile and it was evident that all of us approach writing groups for different reasons.

While some might make changes to their writing groups, Pollano mentioned specific benefits for being a part of a writing group. Based on Pollano's book, she mentioned that members of a writing group:

  1. Provide a built-in network of people who can understand and support your writing.
  2. Help to validate you as a writer.
  3. Give objective, constructive feedback.
  4. Encourage productivity...deadlines, deadlines, deadlines!
  5. Share ideas and can assist with networking
What are the reasons you might join a writing group? What benefits do you want from a writing group?

Elizabeth King Humphrey writes and edits from coastal North Carolina. Follow her on Twitter at @Eliz_Humphrey.


  1. Elizabeth--

    I am lucky enough to belong to a wonderful group. We "sandwich" our suggestions between a couple of positive, specific comments. Praise...a way to polish the piece...praise.

    I joined because 1) I wanted to improve my writing and get more things published and 2) it keeps me "honest" as a writer. I might not have anything at the "share stage" on Monday morning but on Tuesday morning I'm working on a draft and by Wednesday afternoon, I'm ready for my WWWP group (Wild Women Wielding Pens).

    I blog about my group, and the latest post about them can be found at

    I would encourage every serious writer to join/form a group. It can make you grow exponentially as a writer...

  2. I love my writer's group and value their input, expertise and honesty. My writing improves with each meeting. I've also found it easier to call myself "writer" and "author" since taking part in a various writing classes through our local bookstore and my beloved writer's group. People from my class enjoyed the "meeting" time so much, a couple different writer's groups and a website were birthed. We need our writing partners for support, honesty, and motivation. Great blog! :)
    Lisa Buske


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