You have been writing for a little while now, and you’ve really been enjoying the process. It’s engaging, and keeps you quite busy. While many people have mentioned writing groups to you, you haven’t felt particularly compelled to join one just yet. In fact, you aren’t even sure you will have the time to dedicate to one. This means it’s okay to overlook them, right?
Well, maybe. There are many successful writers that don’t belong to writing groups. However, they can be very helpful in your journey as a writer, particularly if you are just starting out.
A good writing group will have a mix of writers for you to get to know. This means there will likely be a few seasoned professionals along with those who are just starting out. There may be some people who write as a hobby, and some who consider their writing a part time income in addition to their regular day jobs. This means you will have a lot of different people taking a look at your work. They can offer advice from their different viewpoints, which is essential information for those who don’t yet understand how their writing will be received by readers.
Writing groups can offer support when things get hard, and can help you through rough patches. Everyone understands what you are going through, as they have likely gone through it as well. They can help you bounce ideas around, rework an area of the piece you’ve been having trouble with, or show you what helps them get moving when they feel stuck. They can give you feedback that could help you enhance your writing, making everything both easier to understand for the reader and more pleasurable to experience.
A writing group can also open doors to you that may not otherwise budge. Think about having several great friends who know what you are capable of in terms of creating new pieces and managing your workload. These individuals can act as references when needed and may even be able to point you in the direction of new endeavors. They can help you market your work as well, since they will likely have personally read it and seen how dedicated you are to your craft. Think of them as coworkers in a reasonably solitary profession. Writing groups can benefit everyone in them if they are all actively seeking to raise each other up.
That said, it’s important to find the right group for you. There are many different writers out there, and you will click with some more than others. Taking the time to seek out likeminded individuals can be a bit of a task, but it can really lead to some great interaction.
So yes, it’s okay to skip out on the writing groups if you feel the need to. But, chances are they will be worth carving out time for.