(Repost from MS Editors!)
Last month, I co-created a writing group.
Two friends from my college writing program and I all voiced a mutual desire to receive feedback on projects we’ve been working on post-degrees (albeit, very intermittently post-degrees). While we deeply enjoy one another’s company—oh, how good it is to discuss books and writing and poetry again!—we’re a hodgepodge group of sorts. Well, that is, our projects are all very different.
For me, last year I began the tumultuously slow process of writing a young adult novel, and I wanted someone else to read the pages and point out glaring character development issues, plot inaccuracies, etc. Another friend is working on a historical fiction novel set during WWII, and the other is working on her poetry collection. Again, it’s quite the variety. And while I’m certainly no poetry expert, and they don’t often read YA fiction, I’ve already found their feedback to be immensely helpful.
(For the most part) outsiders of the YA world, their fresh perspective is revitalizing. They’ve only read the first three chapters and already I can see that I’ve got some work to do, and I’m excited to revise. And while, in my opinion, these outcomes alone immensely validate our meetings, this is not the sole reason why I added one more thing to my already full calendar.
I committed to my writing group—and the other members agree with me—for a sense of accountability to create new material.
Perhaps you’re not like us. Perhaps you have excess pockets of time and energy left in your day to create. And if that is you, kudos. But that is not us. We are busy. Our lives are filled with work, relationships, social activities, errands, working out (or, you know, thinking about working out), and the list could go on for a thousand years.
A while back I wrote a blog post about making time to write. I was so optimistic that I could commit to it and make it work. And I was so wrong. But a writing group has clout. And I’m excited to try this out. I’m excited to see what I can create and excited to help others create.
So, want to be a part of a writing group? I have no fancy Internet tips on how to connect with other writers in your area. In fact, I have very little advice about this. I knew a plethora of writers and desired to do this for years before it finally happened.
But, you don’t have to know a lot of writers to get great feedback on your work. Ask anyone in your network: friends, family, former teachers, librarians, avid readers. But really, readers love to let you know what they liked and what they didn’t. Before you know it, you’ll be swimming in feedback.
And if that doesn’t work? Well then, there are always editors!