11 Tips for Building a Writing Team

I talked last week about different types of critique. Check out that post HERE. This week I want to dig in about how to create and maintain a critique group. I saw an interview with a group of writers who’ve been critiquing for over 15 years and I took notes.

These folks were making it work, how? I can’t keep a group together to for the length of a month let alone years.

Here’s what I learned about how they make it work:

  1. Be committed. This is a writing marriage in a way. Don’t take what you need and skip town on your group leaving behind illegitimate book babies.
  2. Be honestly happy for other’s success! You helped make that story happen with your critiques, celebrate together.
  3. Pull you weight by showing up and offering insights. Value yourself. You have a unique way of thinking, utilize it.
  4. Be career focused not just story focused. If someone needs to talk publishing, agents or marketing do your best to help them.
  5. Meet twice a month. Or decide what works best for your group, the key is to meet regularly. This can be in person or online.
  6. Structure your group to give each person a 30 minute window to discuss whatever writing thing they need help with. Hold them to it.
  7. Rotate who goes first so no one gets stuck as the last one who gets only tired thoughts.
  8. Keep it between three and six people. At 30 minutes each this will be an hour and a half to three hour meeting.
  9. Print out enough copies so you can get mark ups from each person.
  10. Have someone else, besides the author, read the story aloud. This will catch a plethora of mistakes.
  11. Have a broad, monthly writing topic to spur new ideas.

This is about doing life together through writing. Caring about others personal and career success will spur your group to greater heights. You may come up with the same product on your own time but having a group is going to get you there much faster.

Are you in a group yet? If not drop a comment below and see if anyone wants to start one.

Happy Questing!

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