Writing doesn’t always have to be a solo gig. And it probably shouldn’t be if your goal is getting published. Feedback from other writers and readers is a time-tested way to improve your own work, whether you write poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. Community-based workshops provide free feedback, and they can help writers grow. So how can you find or start one?
Some people prefer to meet in face-to-face groups, and others prefer an online format. Both have their advantages, but my post for The Writing Cooperative spells out four strategies for the F2F world.
Strategy #1: Take a writing class at your local college or recreation center and meet other writers.
These classes are usually quite inexpensive; since we’re zeroing in on free here, though, it’s what comes after the class that’s of interest. You may find kindred spirits in the class who want to continue meeting after the class is over.
The first writing group I belonged to was with a group of women I met in a poetry writing class at a state college. We’d all had such a good time in the class that we didn’t want it to end, so someone — maybe me — suggested that we meet twice a month after the class ended. One of the members had young children, so for several years we met at her home.
That group continued to meet for about ten years, and the professor from our original class ended up joining us. Two of the things that made it work logistically were having a regular time to meet, and a regular place to meet. That predictability made it possible for members to occasionally miss a meeting without losing track of the group.
Strategy #2: Attend a public reading and talk with other attendees. Many people who attend readings are writers. Ask if there are any writing groups in your area looking for new members.