How to Find A Writing Group

Written by Emily Harstone | June 6, 2013

Many famous writers from Virgina Woolf  to C.S. Lewis to Ernest Hemingway were part of a writing group. Such groups are often cited by  famous authors  as one of the most important things a writer can have. Writing groups are largely informal gatherings that involve reading each other’s work and providing feedback. If you want to build a successful career as a writer, find a writing group can make a bid difference. Here’s how to do it.

Sometimes it is hard to get perspective on your work, having others feedback really gives you that. Their feedback can also help motivate you to finish writing in spite of stumbling blocks. Plus the fact that your getting the feedback of several people means that you are getting to hear different perspectives on your work.

If you have an undergraduate degree in creative writing you probably have already experienced a similar process in workshops. The students I teach often ask how they can continue the experience of workshop after school is over. I always tell them that there are no guarantees but there are some options.

If you already have a couple of writer friends you can try setting up an informal workshop at a coffee shop or one of your homes. When you are first starting out it is important to invite new people, so that you get to meet the friends of friends who are also writers. Not all writing workshops work all the time, so if you find out that you have the wrong mix of people be diplomatic about it.

Another way to find writing workshops is through bookstores. Many independent book shops have writing workshops that are free and open to the public, even if you only meet a few people whose feedback you value, that is a good start.

One of the best ways I know of finding a good writing workshop is attending continuing education classes in writing, either through a local university or community college. Often even if the class isn’t that good, it is inexpensive and after the class is over  you appreciate can create your own workshop with the fellow students you appreciated working with.

I also know of a friend who found her writing group through Craigslist. It worked out for her, but it was a tricky endeavor and I do not recommend it, even though it is an option.

Good writing groups are a gift that keep giving but they are hard to find, so don’t give up if it doesn’t work out the first time you try.