Writer’s Groups: What They Are

Writer’s groups are exactly what they sound like: a group of writers getting together and working to improve their craft.

How do they go about improving their craft? This can happen in a few ways. With writer’s groups, the important thing is to have a specific goal. The goal will help determine what kind of writer’s group you should look to join (or start; I’m more of a start one myself kind of gal).

Here are four types of writer’s groups to consider:

Accountability Group

Goal: To finish or make progress on a project you are struggling with.

Accountability groups harness the power of peer pressure and use it for good. They are for when you’ve stalled out on a project or are having trouble getting into the swing of it.

During the first meeting, you setup some goals (e.g., I will finish writing two chapters of my novel). After that, the meetings function as deadlines.

At the meetings, each member gets the chance to speak. They say what their goals were, if they achieved them, and if not why not. Then they set their new goals.

Prompt Writing Group

Goal: To create or nurture the habit of writing.

At prompt writing groups, the focus is actually sitting and writing. A prompt (a short sentence or phrase, an image, or object) is given and members have a set amount of time to write something about the prompt. Often the writing is then shared.

Critique Group

Goal: To receive (and provide for others) feedback on a specific piece of writing.

Critique groups focus on things you’ve already written. There are several ways they can be run. Typically, you submit a piece of writing to be critiqued and the other members have until the next meeting to read through your piece and make notes.

At the meeting, there will be a discussion about the piece followed by the submission of the next piece to be critiqued.

Discussion Group

Goal: To talk about all things writing related.

These groups can go two ways. One is a less structured group in which members meet up and chat about whatever writing related things tickle their fancy that night. They may have some loose topic ideas, but essentially it’s writing people talking about writing things.

The other way is more structured in that each meeting has a specific theme and guest speakers are invited to come and present to the group.

Those are four types of writer’s groups. If you can think of any I’ve missed or have questions, let me know in the comments.

In the next post, I will share some thoughts on how to go about starting up your own writer’s group.

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