Why You Should Join Writing Groups
If you had told me a few years ago I’d be an active participant in several writing groups, I probably would have scoffed, laughed, and grumbled under my breath about how they don’t work for me. Writing is typically a solitary activity, which is honestly one of the things I love about it. However, even if you never write within fifty feet of another human being, joining a writing group—whether online, in person, or both—can benefit you as a writer and as a human being. Below are a few reasons why you should join a writing group and become active in the writing community.
1) Writers Love to Give Feedback
This one is a no-brainer. If you join writing groups, you’ll find hundreds or even thousands of people who know the ins and outs of writing and publishing and who would eagerly share their knowledge. The writing groups I’ve joined have people from all experience levels—from newbies just getting into the writing game, to experience authors who have several books on the market. As long as you’re nice and offer your own experience, you can often find people who will read your work and give helpful feedback. You’ll find crucial beta readers in groups, or you can just pose a general question and have people give their opinions and educated information.
2) Support During the Hard Times
So maybe your first book isn’t getting the sales and positive feedback you hoped. Maybe you’re fed up with your manuscript and just want to put it in the shredder. In writing groups, you’ll find people who have been where you are and can help you gain a better insight into what’s not going well so you can improve it. No one knows what it’s like to be a writer better than another writer. Honestly, most non-writers think we’re a strange breed anyway, so finding a place to belong can be a joyous relief.
3) New Books to Read!
Many writers in my groups are published and, so far, every book I’ve read from them I’ve enjoyed. Writing groups are a great way to take a chance on an unknown indie author and lose yourself in a story that you might not find in bookstores. Of course, once you read their book, leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble so others can find and enjoy it. Likewise, once you’re published you’ll have many people who will probably want to read your book, review it, and feature it on their social media platforms. It’s a win-win situation!
4) Marketing Help
You see an ad for a new product. Who are you more likely to trust when you decide to buy it—the faceless marketer paid to create the ad, or a friend/family member recommending it to you? Exactly. We’re more likely to buy items recommended by people we know, and we’re more likely to promote items our friends are selling rather than promote a huge company we aren’t associated with (unless we really, really like the company). When you get active in the writing community and create genuine relationships with people, it’s surprisingly easy to get people to promote your book. Sometimes all you need to do is ask them to share a sale or promotion you’re holding. In many cases, they will like you and your book enough to recommend it to others without even being asked. When that happens, be sure to express your gratitude and return the favor.
5) Genuine Friendships
I never imagined I’d make “real life” friendships with people I met in online writing groups or in the writing community. Sure, it makes sense when you think about it, but as an introvert who enjoys talking through text, I didn’t expect to meet any fellow writers in real life. Lo and behold, after moving to Utah (where I had exactly zero friends), I took a chance and met up with someone from an online writing group. Yes, my introverted little brain was nervous, but now I can say not only do I have a genuine friend, but I’m not so nervous to meet other online buddies in person.
Do you have any favorite writing groups? How has the writing community changed your life as an author? Let me know in the comments below!