Writing Groups-Create-Join-Benefit by Cindy Tomamichel
Today’s post is from author Cindy Tomamichel.
Cindy Tomamichel is a writer of action adventure romance novels, spanning time travel, sci fi, fantasy, paranormal, and sword and sorcery genres. They all have something in common – swordfights! The heroines don’t wait to be rescued, and the heroes earn that title the hard way.
She has poetry and a short story in the recent anthologies of Rhetoric Askew. More of her published work is on her website.
Her book – Druid’s Portal – is due for release on May 17th with Soul Mate Publishing. It is a time travel romance, set in Roman Britain around Hadrian’s Wall. Action and adventure with plenty of fighting, ancient goddesses and druids. It’s not your typical romance, but it will set your heart racing!
Cindy’s contacts are below if you would like to share this adventure.
Writing can be a solitary activity. Often for hours it is you and the screen, perhaps with a cat or dog camped at your feet or on your lap. Sure, there are many, many writers groups and forums you can join on facebook, and indeed they can be very useful. I personally have shared ideas and inspiration from people in parts of the world I know I will never see. The internet can be a wonderful thing, particularly if you write in obscure niche areas. There is no doubt a Facebook group for everyone.
However, before the internet, writers actually met and spoke with each other! This curious habit seemed to give them great pleasure, so it is worth exploring. Some famous writers groups include The Algonquin Roundtable, which boasted the sharp wits of Dorothy Parker and Groucho Marx. Famous writers such as Tolkien, Lewis and Hemingway all belonged to writing groups. Writers have been getting together for a long time – I suspect Plato and Socrates discussed writers block in their writing group.
Sometimes writers groups can be hard to find locally, advertising and marketing not generally being a strong point with writers. Checking the libraries, your local council, google and your state or national Writers association will help to track one down. Another place to check is a local university or college notice board. Get a phone number or an email and take a deep breath and get in contact with them.
Even in quite populated areas writers groups may not exist. In this case you may need to start one yourself. This is easier than it sounds, trust me. Do up a flyer, including a contact number or email, and stick it up in libraries and community notice boards. Local papers often accept community announcements for free. If you get some interest, then sort out a place and time to meet. A first meeting may be at a café, then try to get a regular time at a library or community centre. Also be aware of safety issues, taking precautions with sharing personal information until you feel comfortable. Don’t plan the first meeting at home for instance.
Timing and interest can be problems for groups. For instance, daytime meetings vs night meetings attract different age and interest groups. Interest is another key point. Many writers groups have a particular focus, and in my experience the older age groups are mainly focused on writing personal histories. It may take some effort and a few tries to winkle out the creative fiction writers locally. If you do find an established group, tread warily for the first few meetings to see if they are people you can comfortably share writing.
For a start up group, it is worth the effort to decide on rules and boundaries for criticism and topics, as well as reading lengths. Save topics such as politics etc for a mid-meeting tea break. Now is the time to get a feel for the scope of the group. Will they be happy discussing fantasy and sci fi as well as romance or historical?
Activities for writers groups can be found by a quick google, but in general I find some homework and reading it out for discussion is worthwhile. Using random word prompts is a useful way to develop some flash fiction. Writing to a topic in a group is also fun. Once the group is established, getting in a speaker or even publishing a small book of stories and poems or running a contest are all popular group activities. Another useful area is researching things such as plot, themes, setting, conflict or characters or marketing and publishing for discussion. These can be great learning sessions.
The benefits of meeting other writers are many. The simple act of talking about writing with someone that shares your passion is amazing. If you come in with a writing problem, a few people can spark ideas off each other and suddenly you have a solution. Even reading your work out loud to others is a great thing, pointing out all sorts of dialogue and sentence rhythm issues.
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So while facebook groups such as Our Write Side are a great way to interact, actually meeting other writers face to face is a great way to improve your writing. Quite often you find you have made lasting friendships that cross over from just writing, and that is a very good thing indeed. Good enough for a story.