Writing groups are scary.

Think of the risk you are taking when you decide to join/form a writing group:

  • You are inviting like-minded individuals into your home. That might sound great, but take an honest look in the mirror for a second. YOU’RE A WRITER! You are the crazy, talk-to-yourself, neurotic, creative to the point of annoying and socially backward from the rest of society type of person.
  • Writing groups have the unique opportunity to peer deep down into your soul. Once they get a good look…they can (and should) rip that soul apart by pointing out massive plot holes, character flaws and grammatical errors that you so desperately tried to hide from them. They WILL find them.

In spite of the scary, writing groups are tremendously helpful and necessary if you want to really refine your craft. Here are a few things I’ve learned from my writing group.

  • Don’t be afraid. This is easier said than done. The truth is, most people who join writing groups are decent individuals who have no intent to make you suffer. They only want to help, so let them.
  • You don’t have to do everything your writing group suggests. That being said, if 3 people are all saying the same thing…you might want to listen.
  • If you’re not willing to re-write your entire book to make it better, you shouldn’t even try to be a writer, let alone be in a writing group. Great people do great things, including re-writing entire books if necessary.
  • You don’t need to defend your book. Take in the criticism and shut your mouth. Nobody in your group is writing the perfect book, so don’t think you need to come off as the perfect author.

That’s just the surface of what I’ve learned. If you’re hesitant to join a writing group, don’t be. You’ll be grateful for the additional insight and scrutiny.