Having someone read your writing, the words that you have poured your heart into, can be stressful. And the fear of criticism may be keeping you from joining a writing group, from putting yourself and your work on display for other people to scrutinize.
Do not let it!
If your hope is to present work to an editor or agent, you first need to run it by beta readers. Realize, members of a writing group have similar goals. They are all looking for ways to fine tune their craft and improve their stories. Members of a writing group are not out to bash each other’s work, but to help each other prepare their work for submission for possible publication. If you can get your beta readers excited about a story, then maybe, just maybe, it might also pique the interest of an editor or agent.
Also, understand that you are in control of what and how much you share with a writing group. At the start, it is perfectly fine to just listen and read other people’s work. Members of the group will be happy to have another beta reader on hand. As you grow more comfortable with the group, then start to let people read your work.
Eight reasons to join a writing group:
- Writing groups are a great learning opportunity, as they are a place to share ideas and pick up pointers about craft.
- Writing groups provide beta readers, people whom you can talk to about what works and what doesn’t work in your stories. These readers will also be some of your first sales when your book gets published.
- You will meet like-minded people who will understand and be supportive of your writing aspirations.
- Participating in a writing group with focused individuals will help push you to stay productive.
- Networking is key in the world of publishing, and members of your group will have knowledge of writing and publishing opportunities.
- You will pick up publishing tips on how to approach editors and agents.
- You will learn to endure critiques of your work. Getting a book published is a difficult task, and your work will be criticized and rejected along the way. Writing groups can help prepare you for this reality.
- You will gain confidence in talking about your work, which is key when talking to agents, editors, and during readings and signings.
Below are some useful links that provide information about writing groups: