The Good, The Bad, and the "It's Okay, but I don't usually go."
Many years ago, I belonged to a very formal registered writer's group. I wanted to shoot myself when I was there. True, it was before I was a community-building coordinator, and before I studied the dynamics of the creative process, so, I couldn't quite peg all the reasons I wanted to kill myself. I blamed the lighting. I do not do well in fluorescent lighting. I do know I left every meeting doubting my writing ability and certain only the top 1 % of writers would ever publish.
Groups like these still exist. And they work for some people; the two who have published traditionally and see themselves as the advisors. The chairperson who likes the opportunity to use his leadership and business skills. The university student who is working on his masters and insists that having a masters is the only way one will ever achieve credibility as a writer. The critic who only knows how to criticize. They like the group.
Still, others join because there is one thing very valuable about belonging to a writer's group. By joining a writer's group, you've taken a brave step to acknowledge yourself as a writer. Unfortunately, that benefit will be lost if the group does not have the dynamics to support each individual's creative process.
Currently, I belong to a couple ideal writing groups ever for me. Damn Book Done is the online facebook group for writerly subscribers, workshop participants and coaching clients. It's small, intimate, and the writers are very supportive of each other. Some members are even working on an anthology for publication!
My local writing group is called Books in the Belfry. Our tagline is Batsh*t Crazy About Writing. Here's how I describe this group to others:
Belonging to a writing group can be the best thing a writer can do. It's important that it be the right one for you. For now, ask yourself - is my writing group making me feel good about my writing abilities? Do I love showing up?
We have created a Writerly Kit for Writers Groups. It's a one-time purchase, it's fun, and it can make your group an even happier place to be. Have a peek? It's called, "Best Damn Writing Group Ever." Yay!
It may turn out that you're thinking your writers group isn't ever going to be your best one. Then it's worth searching out a new opportunity, or perhaps, starting your own.
There's ways to make that happen, too, and I'll be posting an article soon with ideas. Though, I bet you have a few ideas of your own on what could work!