Hello SErs! It’s Jan here today to talk about something I’m sure we’ve all experienced on our writing journey – Writing Organizations and groups.
Let’s face it. Writing is a solitary endeavor. We close our doors, isolate ourselves and block out the world while we create worlds. But that’s where the isolation ends. We are not an island unto ourselves when it comes to publishing our work and marketing it to the masses. We need a support system, or two. So, then comes the big question, ‘where do we go to find the support we need and that we can equally reciprocate?’
To find the answer, we often turn to the internet in search of writing organizations or groups that will be the perfect fit for us as individuals. But more often than not, our association with writing groups comes about through personal recommendations or testimonies.
There are pros and cons to joining with a group and I’m going to look at some of them here today.
I published my first book in 2013. I was as green as the proverbial gourd as far as knowing anything about the book business. So, I started searching. I signed up for writer’s conferences, took classes, and sat in on workshops trying to soak up any and everything I could.
In 2014 I joined my first writing organization. At the time I didn’t even know what the organization did, but I liked the idea of it. It made me feel like a real author. And, I needed association with other authors. It turns out this organization was specifically created to help authors learn how to market their work. And boy, did I need that! My association with this organization continues to this day, although the name has changed. It has not only been a satisfying experience, but over the years, I have met many other authors and developed some solid friendships while learning different and unique ways to market my work.
So, let’s look at some of the pros of belonging to writing groups.
- Sharing Experiences
- Networking opportunities
- Sharing Resources
- Developing Friendships
- Finding critique partners
- Supporting each other (cross-promotion)
- Offers accountability
- Mentoring (often online classes are offered)
- Opportunity to promote your books
- Enter contests
- A way to keep up with the ever-changing publishing industry
Those are all great things! I’m sure there are more, but those are the basic good things that comes from an association with a writing group.
Now, let’s look at some of the cons.
- Oftentimes there are restrictions put in place (for instance, I once belonged to a writing group that forbade the mention of the Goodreads platform)
- $$ – It can be expensive (membership fees and fees to participate in various events)
- Time-suck (you can find yourself doing more for the organization than for yourself)
- Personality Clashes or Bullying (blatant ugliness)
- Internal Drama
- Commitment Conflicts
- Jealousy (more of the ugly)
As you can see, the Pros column is much longer than the Cons column.
So, in conclusion, authors can often benefit greatly from joining writing organizations or groups. The way you decide what group to join is completely up to you. For me, I look for compatibility, not only with other members but with the core values of the group. Positive attitudes and no bullying are musts for me! And those factors alone are enough to influence my decision to have an affiliation with or walk away from, a writing group or organization.
I also know that an organization is subject to change, and as a member, you have to be willing to change with it or disassociate yourself from it.
This writing journey is not an easy walk, but it is the most rewarding endeavor I have undertaken. Having the opportunity to channel creativity is invaluable to me and enriches my life on every level.
I currently belong to five different writer organizations or groups, and I proudly list them on my website.
What about you? Can you add anything to the pros or cons columns? What has been your experience with writing groups?