Writing is considered to be a solitary task. It’s easy to conjure up the image of the lonesome writer, cloistered in their shed, spare room, or attic, or up late at night when everyone else in the neighborhood is asleep. And it’s true - so much of writing success depends on time spent sitting in silence with the page. But while the work of writing may be isolating, it is, at the heart, a social activity.
Writing is all about communication. The poet, short-story writer, memoirist, and novelist all share an abiding longing: that their work be read, enjoyed, even loved. And so, even if the task of putting words on the page requires silence and freedom from distractions, the goal of writing is to connect to other human beings. That’s where writing groups come in.
At their best, writing groups provide a safe and supportive environment where authors can share their work in progress, find motivation and encouragement to keep a schedule or meet goals, and learn from one another.
Writing groups come in different formats. Take, for example, the write on site model, where members meet at an appointed time on a regular basis to write together, usually in silence. This method provides a routine and accountability for writers who may have trouble making time for their work.
There’s also the goal-setting model, where writers meet to share their goals for the next week or month and to discuss whether they met their goals from the last meeting. This can be helpful for figuring out what works and what doesn’t -- sometimes group mates are able to see obstacles to one another’s progress more easily than the writer who is facing those obstacles.
Of course, the traditional writers’ workshop offers another model for writing group organization. Members take turns sharing their work for feedback from the rest of the group. Usually this involves sharing pages ahead of time so that other members can read and write up comments, and then meeting to discuss the work in person (or online).
When writing groups are structured as a constructive learning experience, they can be magical. Someone is engaging with your work! You've found your readers! Mission accomplished!
At The Anchorage, members enjoy these writing group activities, all rolled into one supportive and encouraging online environment. From 24/7 access to the online group, where members can propose impromptu or regular writing sessions, to goal setting exercises and our seasonal writer’s workshops, writers will find a home at The Anchorage. Enroll in a program today!