For many years, writing was a solitary process. It was a solitary passion. Whether I was sharing content on social media, my website, or Wattpad, I felt a lack of community. My readers were my family (after I annoyed them enough to read my content) and occasionally my co-workers. Despite the number of writers I engaged with as a reader, writing was an activity I participated in alone.
That changed when I attended my first Writers Group meeting. The benefits were immediate and inspiring, and I am going to tell you why you need a Writers Group if you are serious about writing.
Reason 1: I gained a community.
My Writers Group ranges from ten-to-twenty people per meeting and we meet once per month. At the age of twenty-one, I am the youngest by a few decades in my Writers Group. Yet, the diversity of writing experience cannot be calculated in years.
While I enjoy writing science fiction novels and dabble in some non-fiction and poetic writing, by joining a Writers Group I had the opportunity to engage with writers who have a diverse range of experiences, including:
- Short stories
- Teaching writing to children
- Teaching writing in university
- Publishing in anthologies
It was a mind-expanding experience to physically meet successful writers who existed in a multitude of careers, with different levels of engagement with the industry.
Within one meeting, I was no longer a solitary writer. I had connected with people who shared my passion for writing and I was able to contribute to that community simply by showing up, listening, and sharing objective feedback. Even if this was the only benefit from joining a Writers Group, I still would advocate for more writers to participate. The benefit of being a part of a community is that you no longer feel alone. While consciously this may not impact your day-to-day life or even impact your writing, joining a Writers Group can provide you with a greater sense of purpose in your writing because you’re now a part of something bigger than yourself.
Reason 2: I gained a passionate support network.
Every meeting, each member of my Writing Group has the opportunity to share some writing that they would like feedback on or want to celebrate with the group. This support network can improve your writing. Through objective feedback and a variety of opinions, others can help you recognize your strengths and weaknesses in a supportive environment that encourages you to better your writing, rather than belittle you for your mistakes.
As a solitary writer, without objective feedback, you are ultimately guessing at how to improve your craft. Alternatively, you have to pay for professional criticism. By joining a Writers Group you have the opportunity to receive constructive feedback in exchange for participating in the community.
Being in a Writers Group with writers more experienced or successful than yourself also provides you an opportunity to receive more individualized support and feedback for your written work. There is the potential you may connect with a writer who has experience in your specific genre or career stage. By connecting through a Writers Group you have the opportunity to request one-on-one support with others. This can be a huge catalyst for growth as a writer and is another benefit of joining a Writers Group.
Reason 3: I gained inspiration.
Writing can be a chore. I find it easier to imagine a new world in my mind than I do to carry out the actual work of creating it through words on paper. For the majority of the time, we need disciple and momentum in write. At other times, inspiration can be the kindling we need to start a fire.
The night after my first meeting I went to bed itching to start typing away on my current work-in-progress. That energy was still with me the next morning when I woke. As soon as I had finished breakfast, I was starting up my computer and scanning through notes to reconnect with a story I had left gathering dust for the last three months.
Being a part of a community and having the opportunity to read my work out loud to a small audience was an exhilarating feeling. As a writer, my purpose is like a coin. On one side, writing is a way that I express myself and my creativity. On the other side, writing is a craft I aspire to share with the world. Despite having the larger ambition to publish books that are read and enjoyed by the masses, reading my work out to my Writers Group gave me my first taste of authentically sharing my work. This feeling ignited the passion in my chest and created the incentive to write. I wanted to share more with my Writers Group, and I also had people I was accountable to. I didn’t want to arrive at the next month’s meeting with nothing new to share.
By joining a Writers Group I gained inspiration and incentive to write. That creative energy is extremely valuable and when put to use has the power to motivate anyone to commit themselves to their passion – even when it requires work.
You need a Writers Group.
If you’re reading this now and wondering whether or not you should join a Writers Group, then I insist you try it out for yourself. Not only do you get to feel inspired and contribute to something bigger than yourself, but a Writers Group will boost your growth and accountability. We don’t have to feel alone when we’re typing and sharing writing from different parts of the world, divided by screens and different time zones. Joining a Writers Group is like a breath of crisp air on a stiflingly hot day. If there aren’t any established Writers Groups in your local area, utilize your screen and google an online community or even start your own!
If you’re a serious writer, you will never underappreciate the benefits of a Writers Group. I know I won’t.