Society & Culture & Entertainment Writing

How To Form and Promote a Writing Group

Writers must network with other writers in order to learn and grow.
My local writing group serves as a passion support mechanism for my writing.
It is invaluable to me because it is the sacred place where I share my experiences, triumphs, and struggles as a writer.
To form and promote a writing group in your local area, follow the steps below--before long you will have an energetic passion support mechanism for your own words.
Good Luck and Have Fun! Vision and Purpose Have in mind a vision and general purpose for your local writing group.
Your vision and purpose should be created based on the needs of your members.
This can be a bulleted list of the reasons your group exists.
At your first meeting, openly brainstorm with the new members by passing out a questionnaire.
After your meeting, it is very easy to type up the purpose and vision of your new writing group from reading your participants' responses.
For instance, the purpose of our local writing group is to:
  • Support Each Other In Our Writing
  • Share Information Pertaining To Our Writing
  • Edit Our Writing
  • Critique Our Writing
I also asked a question on my questionnaire about what each new member wrote.
This helped me to understand their writing needs and allowed me to create a description of what we write as a group.
This information is also useful to share with potential future members.
Organizational Suggestions The following organizational techniques might be helpful as you start and form your own local writing group.
  • Keep a notepad by the telephone to record names, addresses, and phone numbers of people as they call for more information about your group and meeting place.
    At the meetings:
    • Use name tags.
    • Use a sign-in sheet to record names, address, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses.
    • Share your favorite writing books/magazines in a display formation for new writers.
    • Have plenty of flyers, brochures, and questionnaires to distribute.
    • Consider a donation jar to cover cost of printing flyers, meeting place, etc.
    • If you choose to offer refreshments, keep it simple.
Where to Find Writers The best places to pass out information are:
  • writing conferences
  • workshops
  • women's clubs
  • libraries
  • bookstores
  • post offices
  • churches
  • schools or colleges
  • news stands
  • office buildings
  • local newspapers
  • community centers
  • coffeehouses
  • poetry readings
  • literary lectures
  • concerts
  • hair salons
  • gyms
  • health food stores
  • gift stores
  • museums
  • art schools
  • art stores
  • New-Age stores
  • YMCAs
  • and online discussion groups
In addition to the above, you can spread the NEWS about your local writing group by circulating flyers/brochures in the following ways:
  • giving to therapists for distribution to their clients
  • leaving in motel rooms when traveling
  • sending to magazines and/or organizations you feel have similar interests
  • sending to local radio and television personalities
Where to Hold Your Meetings
  • homes of members
  • libraries
  • bookstores
  • churches
  • schools or colleges
  • community centers
  • coffeehouses
  • restaurants
  • art schools
  • and YMCAs
Tips for Structure in Your Meetings
  • Introductions: To get the creative juices flowing for the participants, ask them to write a short paragraph about their interests, their writing, their hopes and dreams.
  • Let your meetings be a group or team function.
    Try not to be in charge after the first meeting.
    In the beginning, you will need to provide guidance to get the group going...
    it really depends on the personality types of the various members.
  • Ask members when they would like to meet and set your regular meeting schedule.
  • Do not forget to ask your members about the type of structure they are looking for in a writing group.
    (See below for Writing/Sharing Structure Suggestions)
  • Remember to publicize this structure in your brochures/flyers after you are meeting on a continual basis.
    This allows new members to make an informed decision as to the appropriateness of the group for their needs.
Writing/Sharing Structure Suggestions
  1. You can write together and share without critiques.
  2. You can critique each other's work.
  3. You can do a combination of sharing and critiquing.
  4. You can start the meetings with writing news such as:
    • Personal writing achievements
    • Professional news (conferences, markets, and contests) and then share and critique, etc.
Promoting Your Local Writer's Group
  • Tell everyone: word-of-mouth is the best way to spread the NEWS about your new writing group and you might be surprised at the contacts you will make along the way.
    When I told the local Barnes & Noble bookstore about our local writing group, they donated FREE gift certificates.
  • Post and pass out flyers/brochures (see above for locations)
  • Issue press releases
  • Give writing workshops/seminars (this will also promote your writing!)
  • Organize reading events
  • Produce publications/newsletters
  • Fundraising: Writing groups can put together professional collections of holiday short stories, cookbooks, or how-to articles.
    Be creative and professional with the products you produce.

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