Launching a writing career can be like walking blindfolded into a forest.
You trip and stumble as you attempt to navigate the unfamiliar landscape without the benefit of vision, fumbling your way toward the desired destination and feeling incredibly alone.
As you plod along through that lonely forest, you may hear a few birds singing or squirrels scampering about, but human companionship and guidance are conspicuously absent.
Writers need other writers. Writers can help each other “see their way” toward achieving the shared goal of publication. Being engaged in the often-lonely pursuit of writing, we can surely benefit from interfacing with other writers who will inspire us, keep us accountable, and even critique our work.
In essence, we need other aspiring authors walking alongside us in that unfamiliar forest to help keep us on the path toward publication. What better solution for up-and-coming authors to find this support and camaraderie than to join a writing group.
So, now that we have identified the problem—blindly pursuing a book project on our own, how do we arrive at the solution—finding a writing group? Fortunately, there are many resources available for locating a writing community that will provide encouragement and support.
Need More than a Pen Pal? 6 Ways to Find Writing Groups
After identifying some excellent reasons for joining a writing community, we now ask ourselves, “How do I find a local writing group?”
Thankfully, finding fellow writing comrades is fairly easy, as writing groups abound. Consider these ideas for locating a writing community that is just right for your needs:
Join Online Writing Groups 🌐
Online writing groups can be invaluable to the aspiring author. These online communities can be an excellent resource for finding a handy critic to run your chapter by. Or beta readers who will offer feedback on the manuscript prior to publication and reviews for the book after publication.
Online writing groups usually provide active forums for member Q&A. Also, you can find lively conversation revolving around self-publication and marketing ideas.
Some interesting online writing groups to check out include:
Go to Local Writing Groups 🧑🏿🤝🧑🏽
Sometimes you really just want some company, such as meeting locally with other writers. Local writing groups exist for just that reason, to be a living, breathing community tailored to the needs of writers.
A local writing group can provide a social outlet for the oft-cooped up writer who spends copious amounts of time in solitary while writing the next bestseller. These groups provide opportunities for networking, too, as members are all too happy to help each other in getting the word out about a member’s upcoming publication.
Locating a local writing group is easier than you might think. Consider these potential sources:
- Contact local bookstores and inquire if they host a writing group, or might know of a local writing community.
- Check-in at the local library, as very often, the librarian has a list of writing groups in the area.
- Look up local Meetup groups. Depending on your area, you may find dozens of Meetup writer groups and related local writer events.
Use an Online Directory 📰
To locate a writing group in your vicinity, use a directory. A handy reference gives contact information for writer groups across the country.
Here are some examples of groups found through the Writer’s Relief directory:
- The Writers Workspace
- Chicago Writers Association
- Chicago Women in Publishing
- WF Writing
- Amateur Writers of Long Island
- New York Writing Club
- Independent Writers of Southern California
- Los Angeles Writers Group
- Writers Guild of America West
- San Diego Writers, Ink
- The San Diego Professional Writers Group
- San Diego Writers and Editors Guild
- Writing Workshops Dallas
- WORD Writers Organizations ‘Round Dallas
- Dallas Screenwriters Association
- Colorado Authors’ League
- Poets & Writers Denver
- Denver Writers Meetup Group
Sign Up for a Local Writing Class 📖
You may desire to become an author but feel you would benefit from updating your writing skills. A local writing class can offer a brush up on writing mechanics and more.
Local community colleges are excellent sources for affordable writing courses, even offering evening classes that don’t interfere with your day job.
Classes offered through the school’s English Department might include
- Creative Writing
- Novel Workshop
- Writing the Fiction/or Nonfiction Book
An alternative to physically attending a local writing class is to enroll in an online college or university writing course where you can complete the assignments from home.
Join Facebook Groups 📱
These days, a social media writing community might be the preferred venue for interacting with up and coming authors. Facebook has a multitude of online writers groups, both local and international.
Look for groups that are very active by noting their number of posts in a given day. These will be the Facebook groups where members are most apt to engage regularly. Each group will have rules or policies to help guide the members towards productive discourse.
Some of the popular writing groups on Facebook include:
- Writers Helping Writers
- Authors and Writers Helping Each Other Grow
- The New Writers and Authors
- Write Better Blog Better
Attend Writing Conferences 🛫
Attending a writers’ conference or retreat can be a rich source for gathering news and writing tips, as well as connecting with other writers.
Each year there are about 200 such events in the U.S. in varying settings offering both general and specific areas of focus. At these events, you may find yourself gravitating towards other writers in attendance, eventually exchanging contact information.
Since the people you meet at these conferences are motivated to succeed, why not pitch the idea of starting a writing group with some of your new acquaintances? If the distance is an issue, create an online group where you can FaceTime the meetings and share in real-time.
Create Your Own Writing Group 💡
You may have attempted to locate a local writing group and discovered there are none to be found in your area.
Why not go ahead and form your own writing group? If you happen to know a few aspiring authors in your area, go ahead and reach out to them. If not, contact the local bookstores in the area and pitch the idea to start a group that could meet at the bookstore once a week.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hills has great resources creating writer’s groups. If an online group is more your style, consider creating your own Facebook writers group by inviting some of your Facebook friends who have expressed an interest in writing.
Find More Writing Help
Seeking to hone your writing skills by participating in a writing group or taking a writing class will only enhance the success of your book publishing efforts. Find additional mentorship through a full-service publishing partner like Gatekeeper Press.
Gatekeeper Press offers end-to-end publication services, including editing, proofreading, formatting, cover design, and distribution. Contact us today.