Writing Groups – to Join or Not?

SWAre you a budding novelist, or perhaps you have already written a draft of your potential best seller and want to know what to do next?  Maybe you haven’t written anything other than the shopping list before now but you have an idea for a plot and would like to get it down in some form before you forget.

Writing groups are an ideal place for you to meet other writers, learn the craft of writing (because it is something that can be learnt) and gain inspiration from like-minded people. There should definitely be a writing group somewhere near where you live. Have a look at The National Association of Writers’ Groups, an association with an impressive list of patrons: Sir Alan Ayckbourn, CBE, Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, CBE, Rt. Hon. Lord Radice, Gervase Phinn, Lord Bragg of Wigton, Lord Fellowes, Tony Warren, MBE, Jilly Cooper, OBE, Prof. David Lodge CBE, Rt. Hon. Lord Healey, CH, MBE. There is a regional directory listing groups that are situated around the UK as well as news of festivals and competitions held throughout the year.

Good writing groups should encourage and motivate. They may have members who can give advice about publishing or help with information about self-publishing. There should be an opportunity for members to read aloud some of their work and then have it critiqued by others in the group. There are, however, some very good golden rules that should always be put in place when critiquing work in a writing group.

Firstly, always critique the writing not the writer. Start by saying three positive things about the piece before addressing the weaknesses and providing constructive suggestions about how it could be improved. Always try to explain why something isn’t working as it should. For those of us who are being critiqued remember not to take anything personally. You may not agree with what is being said, but have an open mind and be willing to make changes.

A new writing group is having its inaugural meeting on 26th September 2013 in southern Spain. Sotogrande Writers is for writers, in any genre or medium, to share their work and get inspired. We will critique your piece, offer advice, support and encouragement, with the end goal of growing together and becoming the best that we can at our craft. We are egalitarian; some of us at different stages of development to others, but we were all beginners at one time. There are also plans to build an online community of writers. More information can be found at www.sotograndewriters.com

Should you or shouldn’t you join a writing group. Without doubt!

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