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Writers Groups – Part Two

by Colleen P Moyne (Colmo) (follow)
I'm a freelance writer living in the beautiful river town of Mannum in SA, dreaming of the day I can retire from the 9-5 to write full time.
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Group of Writers
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Starting your own writers’ group.

After reading Writers Groups - Part One you've most likely decided whether or not a writers’ group is right for you. If there is not already a group in your area, then perhaps you might consider starting one yourself.

There is no requirement regarding skill or experience for starting a group, just a love of writing and a desire to share with others. Writers’ groups are a supportive and confidential way to develop your skills at your own pace.

The first thing to determine is the aim of the group. What will happen at meetings? Will it be a formal or casual group?

Group of Writers
Image courtesy of stockimages / Freedigitalphotos.net

Here are some ideas for group activities:

- Quick exercises – This could be writing on a topic for five minutes, choosing a few random words and using them in a quick story, writing a limerick, etc.

- Descriptive writing – Choose an object and write about it, think up as many words to describe something (e.g. a sunset,) or write about a person place or thing without saying who, what or where. Learn new words.

- Critiquing – Bring a piece of your writing and give & receive feedback. Bring a story or poem by a published writer and discuss it.

- Share writing tips and ideas – How we overcome procrastination or writer’s block, where we get our ideas and subjects from, etc.

- Share opportunities – Keep each other informed of writing competitions or publishing opportunities.

Group of Writers
Image courtesy of punsayaporn / Freedigitalphotos.net

Here is an example of an ad. It’s the one I placed in my local newsletter:

‘Do you...
- Write for pleasure or a purpose?
- Want to improve / expand your writing?
- Want to share ideas and inspiration with like-minded writers and poets?
- Want access to competitions and publishing opportunities?
I would like to establish a writing group where all writers, from beginners to experienced can meet, support, share and learn in a relaxed and non-judgmental environment. Whether you want to write poetry, how-tos, who-done-its, or your life story, this group will give you the support and encouragement you need.’

From this ad I received twelve calls and the group developed from there. We meet fortnightly at the local library and donate a gold coin each toward tea and coffee.

Group of Writers
Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 / Freedigitalphotos.net

Each new member fills out a membership form with contact details and a little bit about what they hope to gain from the group. This helps to ensure we are meeting everyone’s needs. We also have a ‘Conditions of Membership’ document. Aside from these two formalities, the rest is very casual.

This writing group is made up of some lovely and talented people and each one of us gets so much satisfaction from meeting and sharing. It’s one of the best decisions I've made in my writing career.

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You have inspired me. I need to find a writer's group again, or set one up here.
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