January 28, 2015

The Value of a Writing Critique Group

As the leader of the local South Carolina Writers’ Workshop (SCWW) chapter, I receive inquiries about our organization almost every week.  For those who do decide to visit and join our group, I know they have made a great decision.  Why?

Our chapter offers a lot to any writer, whether beginner or advanced.  Not only do we assist each other with writing improvement, but we do it with respect. We have a lot to offer with a mix of experience, from newbies to published authors, and a wide age range, from members in their early twenties to members in their seventies.  When a writer in our group succeeds, we come together to support and celebrate with them. The karaoke parties\celebrations are the craziest, but we have fun.

Many of our writers joined our chapter without any publications to their names, often in the early stages of learning how to write.  It's exciting to see each one succeed, and many of the members of our group, including myself, have won awards and published novels, short stories, essays, and poems.

We meet twice a month and typical attendance averages around twelve people, which allows us to  critique nine different writers during that time.  Feedback starts with positive points, and progresses to constructive assistance.

After each meeting, many of us go out to eat at a nearby restaurant.  These gatherings make the difference between existing as just a writers’ group and forming close friendships.   

Why do you need a writing group?
  • Knowledgeable feedback from people who understand the writing and publication process
  • Celebrations of successes and a guarantee that if you win an award or launch a book or hold a book signing, someone will show up
  • Proofreading that goes beyond typos and checks the accuracy of your facts or whether a fight scene, or love scene for that matter, works
  • Encouragement when the rejections pile up
  • Information about writing contests and other opportunities
In many ways, the writers in our chapter are some of my closest friends. How else can I let them analyze and tear apart my babies, my cherished words?

Do you belong to a writing group? What benefits have you gained?

6 comments:

Jeanne Doyon said...

I love meeting with my writer's group - for encouragement, accountability and yes, SANITY. We have 4-5 consistently and it is a wonderful way to gently nudge one another to the next step of our projects.

Mary Harwell Sayler said...

Thanks, Barbara. I'll highlight this on the Christian Poets & Writers blog to encourage others to find a peer group in person and/or online :) God bless. http://www.christianpoetsandwriters.com

Lori said...

Well said, Barbara. A peer group of supportive fellow authors is priceless!

Barbara V. Evers said...

Lori, I agree. I can't begin to place a value on my group.

Jeanne, I'm so glad you have a group to help you stay sane, too. I like you sane. *wink*

Mary, thank you so much for sharing my writing with so many other writers. The most valuable compliment to a writer is from another writer.

Margie Houmes said...

Hi Barbara,
I do not belong to a group and do not know of any that meet during the day. I live in Jacksonville, FL. Should I put out a request in fb or twitter?
Thank you for you help.
I love you, love your writings,
Margie Houmes

Barbara V. Evers said...

Margie, I would definitely check FB and Twitter. Also, try googling the following: writing conferences, writing groups, writing workshops. You might find a group that way. There are, also, online writing groups. Good luck!