5 Benefits Of Joining A Writing Group
I’ll never forget the first time I went to a writers’ group. My hands were shaking as I read out my story from a sheet of paper. When I finished I looked up and the other writers smiled politely and told me how good it was. Next, a small man called John read out an excerpt from the erotic fantasy novel he was working on. There was something about trolls having sex with statues. When he finished, we all smiled and told him how good it was.
I left my first ever writers’ group feeling elated. My ego had been well and truly stroked. At the time it was probably the confidence boost I needed. But did it improve my writing? Nope, not in the slightest.
Fast forward a few years, and I’ve come to appreciate the real value of a well-organised crit group. I’ve attended evening classes, studied creative writing at university and nowadays I meet with Writers’ Bloc once a month in the back room of a cosy pub to craft my writing into something it never could have been if I’d struggled on alone.
If you’ve been thinking of joining a critique group, let me convince you why it’s a truly excellent idea.
It gives you a fresh perspective
Compliments are nice but there’s only so much they can do for you
If you haven’t tried a crit group before, you may have only shared your writing with friends and family members. While that can be useful, their feedback should be taken with a sizable pinch of salt. Particularly when it’s your mum telling you you’re going to be the next J.K.Rowling.
Compliments are nice but there’s only so much they can do for you. A good writers’ group will offer you a fresh pair of eyes and give you honest, specific and helpful feedback on how you can make your stories better.
At Writers’ Bloc crit sessions we use the Milford Rules – which means we submit work ahead of the actual meet up to read and digest. Then at the session we sit in a circle and take it in turns to offer feedback to the writer. The writer in question is not allowed to speak whilst receiving feedback, which – although difficult – helps with the flow and prevents anyone jumping in to defend their writing. Ultimately, you’re not going to be there to defend your character motivation or plot choices every time someone reads your story in the big wide world. So it makes sense to see if your story works well on its own.