Why you need a writing group

In an effort to blog more, I plan to just throw out a few of the more “though bubble” type blog posts, and this is the first.

Why you need a writing group:

1. So much of what you write will never see the light of day: to commit time (in a busy world) to write some of us need more of a reason to do so. Having a group to hold yourself accountable can be a wonderful mechanism to do this.

2. Keeping up with the Joneses: there is nothing like seeing the success of your colleagues to spur you on. When you take part in their achievements (and see the effort required to produce quality work) it motivates you!

3. Trust: you need someone you trust to tell you when what you’re working on is shit. Sometimes we all chase the rabbit down the hole and refuse to give up on something that is just no good. A good writing group will help you focus.

4. Belief: Writing can be quite disorganised. You lose track of good material. You get a few rejections and you shelve stories that have value. You need someone who remembers when they liked your stuff, and who has an emotional investment in getting you across the line with them.

5. Creativity doesn’t exist in a vacuum: Don’t expect to toil in the real world then come back to a dark room and write. Creativity thrives in a creative environment. Surround yourself with writers, film guys, painters, sculptors and photographers. Watch them, listen to them, reinterpret what they do.

6. Give back: In all aspects of life, I have always thought that you don’t get anything of value without giving first. Give your time to other writers and you get back more than their reciprocated efforts. You get exposure to the work and style of others, you get access to their ideas that you may argue against, or riff off. And you contribute.

The impetus for this post: last week my writing buddy, Anthony Panegyres, reminded me that I wrote a 20,000 word novella that I had completely forgotten about (as you do). I found it and he called me a few days later to challenge me to a novella editing challenge.

As a high school English teacher (Anthony is Head of English at a prestigious Perth school), Anthony is the ultimate writing group member. Every time we catch up he name checks EVERY SINGLE STORY of mine that he believes I’ve shelved too early.

Support you can’t pay for.


One Response to Why you need a writing group

  1. Anthony says:

    Thanks, Dan. Think we’ve both been of great support to each other. But really appreciate the comments too.

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