In our writers room Tuesday night we were chatting about writing groups - the various different kinds and how they can be a great source of support.

Advice for finding the right writing group for you? it comes from networking. Say you’re in a class, or doing a course, suggest a writing group and if there is interest, set one up. Reach out to friends, look for ads in bookstores. Call your local bookstore and ask if they have a writing group or know of any. Or you can start your own virtually. Zoom or FaceBook rooms or FaceTime mean that now you can attend from your living room!

Start small and stay that way, keeping the group to four or five people. It may take you a few tries to get the right dynamic. Some people may only stick around a couple of weeks and that’s okay, a writing group has to be right for YOU. If more people want to join your group, split them off into smaller groups and have a couple of social events or arrange to attend a book reading.

If you are doing a group read aloud session, set a time limit say - 10 minutes per person. That way everyone gets to showcase what they are working on. Or you can have one person’s work critiqued each meeting. Or you can use prompts or exercises. Don’t be afraid to suggest ideas.

Of the many things a writing group can give you, the support of likeminded people, is - to me - one of the most important. The group can celebrate (and commiserate) with you. You can lift each other up and give each other confidence.

Writing groups are organic, they will change over time, people will leave, others will join. Some writers become songwriters, some complete their book and go off to pitch it, some move out of state, some may join other writers groups and some become teachers. The group we formed back in 2006 no longer exists, we still talk on FaceTime, we've attended book launches together, had long catch-ups over coffee and over Zoom and I was so happy to see them at my first book launch. These people are your tribe and though our group long since dissolved we remain lifelong friends.

Things to remember

This isn’t book club

This isn’t a competition

Every writer begins as a novice

Writing is fun