Joining a Writing Group

At the beginning of the year one of my goals was to join a writing group. It is an important way not only to connect with other people who share similar interests but also to receive important feedback and critique.

Since I am not living in a big city my options are rather limited. I was surprised to find how few writing groups there are in Western Massachusetts. Here are a few that I’ve found:

Northampton, MA: I was in touch with the leader of this writing group. It is a ten-week course with weekly sessions. Each session includes a writing exercise followed by reading. However, only two people get “positive feedback only” on their writing. The other people just get to read with no feedback (otherwise, in the words of the group leader, we would be there all night). I don’t really see the point in receiving only positive feedback, but maybe some other people out there have had good experiences with this technique. I will go to a trial class in two weeks to check it out.

Amherst, MA: This is another ten-week session with weekly meetings. Writing ranges from fiction to poetry to essays. Sounds pretty interesting, but one of the things that makes me hesitate is that I would be the youngest person there, by at least two decades. I know it is important to make connections with writers of all generations, but I do feel like the age gap may make it a little harder for them to understand my writing. I’m going to a trial class this week to see what it’s like.

Hadley, MA: This is an eight-week workshop whose participants are mostly post-college writers. The spring session is focusing only on fiction, which is great. Participants will get two workshops where they share work with the class, receive line edits as well as a one-page critique of the piece. I think this will be the best group for me to join, due to the age and interest of the participants and what I can expect to receive in terms of feedback.

I am very excited to be joining this group, along with my good friend Halie Mills, whose writing of poetry and prose inspires me. I hope that being surrounded by other young writers will help give me further perspective as I continue working on my manuscript.

If any readers out there have any comments or suggestions about finding a writing group I would love to hear from you!

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6 thoughts on “Joining a Writing Group

  1. I’m new to blogging, but I think this could be a good forum for creative writing groups. I’m a creative writing college student, so my classes are mostly seminar based and I can’t see a reason it wouldn’t translate online. I was thinking about rounding up some interested bloggers and forming a host site where everyone could post pieces for critique, workshop style. Thoughts?

    • That’s sounds like something I might be interested in. I’m out of the country so I was thinking it would be cool to do like a google hangouts or something online. Not sure if writing critique translates to video conferencing but willing to try it.

      • I think it is a great idea. We could do something simple, like compile a list of email addresses and every week send out a piece for critique. I’m fine with doing it via email or a chat instead of videoconferencing. I will post something soon to see if others are interested. Also, if you know anyone else feel free to spread the idea. Nice to “meet you” by the way!

  2. Hi Emily. I agree that online forums are a great way to share writing and receive helpful critique. I would be very interested in joining a group like this! If there is anything I can do to help facilitate this, please let me know.

    Other bloggers, interested?

  3. Pingback: Why Should I Listen To You? | Lori's Inner Goddess

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