Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Top Ten Reasons Why You Need a Writing Group

First off, thanks for all the congratulations yesterday. You made my day :)

Now here are the top ten reasons you need a writing group:

10. They can critique your work and, unlike your friends and family members, they won't just nod and smile and say, "Oh, this is great!" They'll give you real feedback, and your writing will improve because of it.

9. They can answer questions that regular people can't. Like, what does dystopian mean? or how do I make my novel "high concept"?

8. They can send you their awesome manuscripts to read and feed your creativity.

7. They can sympathize with you when you get rejected.

6. They can celebrate with you when you get an agent, or an editor, or ten weeks on the NYT Bestseller List (We can dream :)

5. They can send you funny and/or useful links

4. They can help your pitiful new blog get started (thanks girls)

3. They can understand why you might rather stay home and write on a Saturday night when your significant other/friends can't.

2. They can keep you motivated to write more, because you don't want to let them down.

1. They can become more than just a writing group

I LOVE my Word Stringers! We met when the beautiful and talented Megan Rebekah decided to start a writing group. She invited people via her blog and the Absolute Write Forums and we came running.

There are 4 of us who have stayed involved and, through some combination of luck and destiny, we get along very well! They are all very talented, but more important than that, they all have DIFFERENT strengths. They were a fantastic resource during the revision process and have been right there with me through everything. We email each other almost every day now, and I love to see what they are up to, read their work, share frustrations, and celebrate with them.

It is awesome to have people to talk to about writing, and though I've never met any of them in person, (they all live on the opposite side of the country from me), they are great friends.

So here they are: (aren't they cute!)

They all have wonderful blogs and I think I've linked to them (crosses fingers) in case you want to check them out (most of you probably already know them--they are blogging queens).

Do you have a writing group? (If not you NEED one!) What do you love most about it?


MeganRebekah said...

What a day for Word Stringer promotions! I've got your announcement and interview up at my blog, so don't forget to check it out.
And I completely endorse your top ten reasons to have a writing group. I don't know how other writers make it completely on there own. I'm so glad I have all of you!

CKHB said...

I just came over here after seeing MeganRebekah's announcement... congrats! And, I *love* my writing group. They have a wide variety of backgrounds and likes/dislikes, so I get a full range of reader reactions, not just one perspective, plus they are write great stuff that I love to read and critique in return.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Awww. yes, they're so cute. LOL

And yes, I belong to a writing group. In fact, I've been with two of these women for almost five years now. They're practically family. :)

Linda Kage said...

Oh, goody. More book bloggers to follow. I think this is turning into an addiction.

And thanks for reminding WHY my critique group is so awesome. It's eye-opening to see a list of how many things they really do for me.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Hi Natalie:
I've moved around a lot and have been involved in three critique groups. I'm the only children's writer in my current group, and surprisingly, it works.

As fantastic as my group is, though, it takes months to pound through our manuscripts, as we can only cover them bit by bit.

After attending an SCBWI Novel Revision retreat a few weeks ago, I want something more. At the retreat, we were paired into groups of four. Before we arrived we read through each person's manucscript. It was so beneficial to see (or not to see!) the character/narrative arc, the conflict, theme, strong chapters, weak chapters, etc. I would love to find someone(s) willing to read my manuscripts whole.

Anyone out there interested? I write picture books, mid-grade, and a bit of YA. Contact me with what you write, and let's see if we'd be a good fit.

Heather Sunseri said...

Congratulations on getting "the call", Natalie! I came over from MeganRebekah's blog (and after following you on Twitter). I like today's post. A critique group has been on my mind a lot lately. Thanks for pointing out all the reasons I need to stop procrastinating on finding a critique group to join.

Lazy Writer said...

I couldn't agree with you more! It looks like you found a good group. The one I'm in is just in the beginning stages. We are trying to build it up a little, but it is still helpful now.

Beth said...

1st - congrats on getting an agent. That is WONDERFUL!
2nd - I'm not in a critique group yet, but I will be looking very soon. Anyone willing to adopt? ;P

Marybeth Poppins said...

Ahhh...One day...one day I will find me an awesome writing group too.

And once again congrats! :)

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Aww, I got all teary eyed. Especially when I read the #1 reason. I'm so grateful for all three of you. Words can't express how much.

Marie Devers said...

My writing would suck without you ladies.