How Writing Groups Can Help You

Guest Post by Lori M. Myers

“I just want to thank…”

No, this isn’t an Oscar speech. It’s a shout out to my writing groups on my book’s dedication page. My success and persistence as a writer wouldn’t be possible without them. So let me ask you this: Are you shy about sharing your work with others? Do you have nightmares about red marks streaked all over your chapter? Don’t be. Here’s why:

  1. They’re writers. They get what you’re going through because they’re going through the same thing. No one understands the writing life more than other writers. You need that support. I know I did when I started out.
  2. They’re readers, too. You’re writing so readers will read you, right? Groups help you predict how the public will react to your work.
  3. Writing it right. Good feedback is invaluable and will improve your writing. Why seek professional editing on an early draft if good writing groups do it for free? I teach writing and literature on the college level and I can’t tell you how many thank you’s I’ve gotten from my group because a sentence didn’t make sense or there was a spelling error.
  4. Inspiration. Reading the works of others sparks creativity. You’ll want to rush home and write. Trust me on this. Okay, so maybe you’re forced to critique five pages from a genre you’re not crazy about. Maybe science fiction or steampunk is not your thing. But writing is writing. You’ll learn from reading outside your comfort zone.
  5. The biz. These days, writing is more than words on paper. It’s also a business. Networking with other writers leads to other opportunities. As group members progress, they’ll let you know about upcoming conferences or publications seeking submissions.
  6. Fun, fun, fun. Writing groups force us out of solitary. What I mean is, writing is not a prison sentence. I’ve made forever friends through my writers’ groups. One even planned twice-a-year retreats. The writing life is joy when shared with others.

How has your writing group benefitted you? I’d love to know.

Bio: Lori M. Myers is the author of Crawlspace and Other Stories of Dark Fiction and Horror published by Fear Front Publishing. She’s an award-winning writer of creative nonfiction, fiction, essays, and plays, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and a Broadway World Award nominee. Her work has been published in more than forty-five national and regional magazines, journals, and anthologies. Lori is an adjunct professor of writing and literature with an MA in creative writing from Wilkes University. She resides in New York. You can find her on twitter (@LoriMMyers), Facebook (www.facebook.com/groups/LoriMMyers/; and http://www.facebook.com/LoriMMyersauthorplays/) and her website (lorimmyers.com).

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