J is for “Joining”.
We all need some encouragement from time-to-time. To support my claim, I’ve invited over Alex J. Cavanaugh — founder and leader of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group — to explain why writing groups are good for you.
Writing is a solitary endeavor. We can bounce ideas off others and write with a co-author, but for the most part, it’s something we have to do on our own.
But when it comes to everything else in the process, a group effort is needed to succeed. That’s what makes a writing group so important. None of us were born knowing what to do–how to write, how to turn our work into a book, or how to market it. We need the support and expertise other writers can share with us.
Here is what a writing group can do for you:
Improve writing skills
- A writing group can offer feedback. Is the storyline solid? Characters compelling? Writing rules followed or broken with skill?
- The group can guide others to books, websites, and articles designed to teach better writing.
- Writers can find those special critique partners within a group and even find great editors, all of whom provide tips for making our writing better.
How to submit material
- Tips and critiques can improved query letters and tighten a synopsis. Those are the hardest two things to write–we need all the help we can get.
- Many have gone through the process, both with and without success. Not only can they give advice, but they show us we aren’t alone.
- Where to submit–where to find publishers or agents who accept our work. Someone in the group might even recommend us.
How to self-publish
- Those in the group who’ve been down this path can offer advice and tips. They provide knowledge, options, and help others avoid the pitfalls.
- What to do at each stage and where to find those who can help edit, format, create cover art, etc.
- What to avoid so we don’t waste time, energy, and money.
- Tips on marketing–and the more members, the more ideas and options at your disposal. What works, what doesn’t, and what’s new.
- Support during a book launch. Other members of the group can help spread the word.
- Where to find reviewers, promotion sites, and more.
- Contests, places opening for submissions, book events–members can let each other know when opportunities arise.
- Lists of these types of opportunities and events available for members to search through.
- The group itself can offer these opportunities.
Ultimately, a writing group can offer a writer so many resources and tons of support.
We’ve tried to offer all of that and more through the IWSG. From our huge database to weekly articles and monthly newsletter, we give writers resources and advice. Our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter groups provide prompts, opportunities, and a sense of belonging. We list contests, member services, host a Twitter pitch event and our own anthology contest–all of which give writers the ability to stretch and try new things.
With a writing group, we are not alone!
Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, CassaStorm, and Dragon of the Stars. The author lives in the Carolinas with his wife.
I hope this helped you as a writer to know that there are others out there willing to support you — you are not alone! Do you have any questions for Alex?