Library Writers Group: Motivation and Goals

29 Jan

After taking the holidays off, I met with my library based writers group last week. It was a big group, the largest we’ve had since we began meeting. It derailed us a bit from our normal practice, but it was good to see so many faces excited about writing. We had a good theoretical discussion and I wanted to share some of our points with all of you.

Many of the new members wanted different things out of the group. A lot of people are looking for editing help and critique partners. I’ve found mine through a writing group so I have to agree it’s a great place to meet people. Another reason, which I thought was great, was to find help with your weaknesses. We all have weaknesses, maybe grammatically or with an aspect of character development, and a writers group is a good place to find people whose skills can complement your own. The overwhelming reason people were at the meeting was to find community among other people who wanted to write. One member said she was looking for people who would encourage her to write every day. “I need a group of fanatics.” I loved that. What do you want out of your writers groups?

A lot of us were in a lull with our writing and hoped the group could kick us back into gear (I’ll admit that’s part of why I go). We talked about ways to get started again. A great way is to look at things you’ve started before and maybe not finished. Something that you jotted down in your idea notebook or started and abandoned. Trying to pick up the thread of an old thought can get you thinking again. A few people said they read books about writing or writer’s memoirs to inspire them. Sometimes as someone who’s 25, it’s hard to remember that most writers don’t find success until well into their 30s or later. I still have time. Reading other work can be inspiring as well. Reading a book you love or something by an author who inspires you. The main thing we stressed was the accept any amount of time you do get to write. It might be five minutes, but that’s five more than the general population. How do you get yourself out of a writing slump?

We had a good discussion on goals. Why do we write? What are we trying to accomplish? To be honest, a lot of us would love to see our names in print; it’s a sense of accomplishment we’re not going to get in many other forums. It’s also a validation that what you wrote is good and someone wants to read it. Some people write to connect. A member gave an example of a memoir essay she wrote about a disability she’d been struggling with. It brought her a lot of feedback and comments from others who had disabilities they struggled with and allowed her to connect with others who felt the same way. And some of us feel like writing is what we’re called to do. We think that the story inside us needs to be told; needs to be shared with the world. We’ve got to let it out because it’s our duty as writers and we just want to share. Why do you write? What are you trying to accomplish with it?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. It would be great to continue the conversation with y’all!

Until next time, write on.

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3 Responses to “Library Writers Group: Motivation and Goals”

  1. Amanda Marie January 29, 2015 at 12:07 PM #

    Such a great post. I just started a writing group at my local library with a friend of mine and we are looking to see what everyone needs from this particular group as well. This post will help me get things into gear for the next meeting for sure!

    What do you typically do in your writing group? Do you usually critique others work? Do you ever have write-ins? How are they run? I tried to run a write-in yesterday like I would a NaNoWriMo write-in, and it didn’t go so well. It was a great learning experience though!


    • Sam January 29, 2015 at 12:14 PM #

      At this group, we will critique one piece provided that piece is emailed a week ahead of time. We usually pick one thing to discuss and do exercises on. For example, we’ve done story boarding and elements of horror writing. About half the time we end with a writing challenge for members to post to our private blog.

      I’ve been in groups that are very different. One is exclusively prompts and we read our work aloud. Another is exclusively critique. I like the blend of the library group because I get a bit of everything. Good luck with your group!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amanda Marie January 29, 2015 at 12:20 PM #

        Thank you very much! This info is helpful to me. I was so stressed out last night when things kind of just fell apart. I might have to do more instruction than I was expecting to, but that’s ok.


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