Joining a writing group can be a game-changer for your writing.
In her book Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg says that we writers need to write with the whole world in our arms. I’ve long understood the importance of community for writers. In fact, that’s why I started See Jane Write.
I had just moved back to my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, and I was looking for a writing group for women, one that would welcome multi-passionate writers who love poetry, creative non-fiction, blogging, and more. But I couldn’t find one. I searched for TWO YEARS. Then finally in 2011, I decided to start my own.
See Jane Write was born. And what started as a group for Birmingham-based writers, now has members across the country and around the world.
There are different types of writing groups. Some meet in person. Some meet virtually. Others do both. But the goal is the same — a group of writers gathers to write, give feedback, and offer encouragement.
Joining a writing group should definitely be on your end-of-the-year to-do list.
Why You Should Join a Writing Group
Your writing group will give you valuable feedback. Having your mom or auntie read your work is fine, but even if she’s an English professor she might not give you the constructive criticism you need to improve your writing for fear of hurting your feelings. The members of your writing group will understand the value of honest feedback. They’ll let you know what’s working and what’s not and can give you advice on how to make your story stronger. Each month, I host a critique session for the members of the See Jane Write Collective so they can get feedback on their work.
Your writing group can keep you consistent. Make your writing goals known to your group and ask them to hold you accountable. Find an accountability buddy that will make sure you’re writing 500 words a day or blogging once a week or sending out queries and submissions once a month. In the See Jane Write Collective, we have monthly goal-setting sessions so we can share our goals and plans with one another. We also have weekly write-in sessions to encourage you to just sit down and do the work!
Other writers can keep you inspired. If you’re facing writer’s block, a talk with a fellow writer can get you unstuck. Also, seeing the success and progress of other writers can encourage you to keep going after your own writing goals.
Find opportunities to get published and get paid. One of the things I love most about the See Jane Write Network, my free Facebook group for women who write, is how often members share opportunities they’ve found online. These opportunities include calls for pitches and submissions, grants, contests, and more.
Find beta readers for your book. If you’re writing a book, a good beta reader can make a world of difference. Your writing group can be a great place to find someone to read your first draft and give you feedback on how to take your work in progress to the next level.
Get your questions answered. No matter what kind of writer you are or what path you plan to take to get your work published, you’re bound to have questions. Maybe you aren’t sure if you should self-publish or go the traditional route. Perhaps you want to self-publish but you’re not sure where to start. Or maybe you want to try freelance journalism but you’re not sure how to pitch your ideas. If you have a question, chances are someone in your writing group has the answer. Members of the See Jane Write Collective have access to an entire online resource library and we have monthly group coaching sessions, too.
Get the encouragement you need to keep going. If you’re a writer who wants to share her work with the world, you must accept that you will face rejection. Whether you’re submitting work to literary journals, sending out queries to land an agent or a book deal, or trying to start a freelance journalism career, you are going to find rejection emails in your inbox. Your writing group will be there to remind you that this rejection DOES NOT mean you should give up. Keep going. Keep writing.
7 Writing Groups to Consider
Obviously, I think See Jane Write is the best writing group for women, especially if you’re a multi-passionate writer interested in different genres. And there are a few different ways you can get involved.
See Jane Write Network is my free Facebook group that you can join today to start networking with other writers. If you’re ready to take things up a notch, join the See Jane Write Collective to get access to a resource library, exclusive workshops, group coaching sessions, goal setting sessions, critique sessions, write-ins and more. VIP membership will be available soon. Stay tuned!
If See Jane Write isn’t the group for you or if you’d like to be a part of more than one group, here are some other groups to consider.
Permission to Write is a community for Black writers and writers of color.
Hope*Writers is a HUGE community for writers looking to balance the art of writing with the business of publishing.
Southern Christian Writers hosts a Facebook group, regional workshops, a book expo, and an annual conference for faith-based writers in the South.
If you’re looking for genre-specific groups, check out
Nonfiction Authors Association
Romance Writers of America
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators