I’ve met a plethora (yes, I said plethora) of writers and authors over the past two years, and from every level of the craft both in skill and career level. I’ll tell you the one constant for pretty much all of them: writers groups. Writing is, for the most part, a solitary craft. We write alone, to be sure, but the fact is that damn near all of us rely upon other writers to help us hone our craft and catch some of the silly mistakes we all are prone to.
Having said that, I participated in a panel at OsFest 5 this past weekend that was most gratifying. Anthony De Marco, Peter J. Wacks and I presented to a group of six writers, all of whom I hope become authors. The best part is that most of them had never been involved in a writing group, and by the time the panel was done, all of them had connected and were going to form their own writer’s group.
The point here is that, if you are working on becoming a professional writer, get thee to a writer’s group and start having your stuff reviewed by other writers. If you’re not, you are missing one of the most important facets on the road to publication.
Here are a few tips that came out of the panel:
- Search for groups on MeetUp.com, CraigsList.com, local colleges and Universities
- Work with people both above and below your level of writing skill
- Find groups that match your schedule
- If writing novel-length works, be sure to have a smaller group that will invest time from beginning to end
- Give as much as you get from the group
- If you criticize, be sure to do so intelligently and with one or more suggestions for improvement—NO BASHING
- Take criticism of EVERY kind with dignity and grace… you need to get use to professional critics who will, eventually, give you a broadside of negative input without the decency of suggestions
- Build up a thick skin for criticism… just get used to it now
- For novels, rely upon both a writers group made up of writers and a readers group made up of non-writers
There was more, but you’ll just have to make one of our panels to get all the details. The Handsome Authors Society plans on making the “Writer’s Group” (and “Plot in an Hour”) panels a staple when we’re at conventions.
Kudos to the new Omaha Writer’s Group borne out of OsFest 5.