Benefits of Writing Groups #Essay

You may think that writing is a solitary endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. I belong to several writing groups that meet regularly to write, share, and critique our work. Today, I’d like to talk about two of them that have been beneficial to me over the years.

The first is called Third Thursday Poets. This started in 2006 as a nine-week class taught by an instructor who was, herself, a published poet. After the class ended, we agreed to meet once a month, and the instructor offered to continue facilitating our meetings. This went on for about two years until our instructor felt she needed to leave the group. We’ve been meeting monthly ever since and take turns facilitating our meetings.

We usually meet for about two hours. Our facilitator provides a prompt that we write on for about twenty minutes. We then each share what we’ve written. After that, the facilitator gives us another prompt as a homework assignment that we can bring to the next meeting. During the second half of the meeting, we critique each other’s homework assignments. Of course, participants don’t have to follow any of the prompts. We can write poetry about anything we want in any form and share it.

When this group started as a class, my late husband had just been discharged from the nursing home after suffering his first stroke, and I’d started caring for him. Most of the poems I wrote for this group were inspired by my caregiving experiences, and many of them ended up in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. I’ll always be grateful for the feedback I received from participants of this group.

The other group that has been helpful to me over the years is called Explorations in Creative Writing. I discovered it in 2009 when someone mentioned the group in a comment on my blog. This is mostly a fiction critique group, and we’re laid-back and close-knit. We meet once a week via phone conference to critique each other’s work, which we send to our email list before each meeting. Our participants are scattered across the country and are mostly blind or visually impaired.

Although most of this group’s participants write fiction, I felt comfortable submitting an occasional poem for critique. But I got the most help with my memoir, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds and my novel, The Red Dress. I’m working on another novel, with which they’ve also been helpful. I’ll always be thankful for the feedback and support this group has given me.

I belong to other writers’ organizations. But because the two groups I’ve discussed are small, we can be more intimate and provide participants with a better experience.

Thanks to blogger Lynda McKinney Lambert for inspiring this post. How about you? Do you belong to any writing groups? How have they helped you? I look forward to reading your responses, either in the comment field below or on your own blog with a link to this post. Thank you for coming today.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Author: abbiejohnsontaylor

I'm the author of two novels,, two poetry collections, and a memoir with another novel on the way. My work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. I'm visually impaired and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my totally blind late husband who was paralyzed by two strokes. Please visit my website at http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com.

4 thoughts on “Benefits of Writing Groups #Essay”

  1. I didn’t get down to writing properly until I joined a writing group. We had to write something every week and bring it in to read, then our tutor took our pieces home to read and write a critique. Jumping in at the deep end for sure! But once started I haven’t stopped writing since. I still enjoy going because we are all friends; it will be 13 years in May. People come and go but there is a solid core of us. My other group is totally different, formed accidentally from a not very good set up, we are very informal and there are only three of us regulars, others come and go! We meet just once a month.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Campbells World and commented:
    Good morning.
    I would like to invite you to enjoy this post.
    I would like to add my comments here.
    I agree with what is said about writing groups being beneficial. I think that we must collaborate to a certain degree with others who are like-minded.
    I do not however belong to more than one writing group.
    I know it is a cliché, but it is my believe that too many cooks spoil the soup. So, I keep my writing critique partners few and far between.
    That having been said, I do belong to the exploration in writing group mentioned here.

    Liked by 2 people

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