Guest Post by Elaine Hirsch
Writers come from virtually every walk of life. There are professionals, amateurs, the published, the unpublished, and groups that include writers from every genre. Among all manner of writers a common complaint is the periodic lack of motivation, and how to overcome this obstacle. No matter how many PhD programs one’s completed or how innately creative one is, sooner or later there comes a time when one’s pen seems paralyzed.
One of the toughest things about writing is the ability to stay motivated. Joining a writing group can do much to motivate the writer who has run out of ideas or simply feels stuck in a rut. These groups can be found both online and off and are often organized as critique groups in particular genres, such as creative non-fiction, short stories, memoir writing, non-fiction writing, biographical writing, reporting, and many other types of writing.
Writing groups might be exclusively critique groups, or may include discussions and workshops. The groups do much to foster motivation, assistance, encouragement, and sense of community among writers who might otherwise be working in isolation. As a writer, working with others can help you present your work to understanding peers so you can gain confidence and outreach in your foray into writing.
In addition to helping you find inspiration, writing groups provide support that helps structure the writing endeavors of members. You’ll be able to learn from writers just like you about prose, vocabulary, and tricks to become a better writer.
When looking for writing groups, consider ones which promote face-to-face meetings. Ones that meet in person can be quite effective in motivating their members because the face-to-face human interaction can provide instantaneous feedback, gratification, and impetus to write. Some people work better when they can bounce ideas off of fellow writers in actual conversation. Colleges and universities sponsor some, and others are free-form groups organized by volunteers.
Competition Breeds Innovation
If just having other writers around isn’t enough motivation, consider writing competitions within groups. Many writing groups host writing contests with specific rules and deadlines. These contests can be great ways to motivate yourself, especially since many offer rewards or cash prizes. Moreover, winning might help you find professional success by gaining reader attention.
Now that we’ve covered some benefits of writing groups, here are some great ways for you to discover writing groups in your area (or online!)
- The Writer Magazine – An established magazine providing advice for writers. Includes a resource for finding writing groups by area.
- For Writers – A simple website revealing prominent writing organizations so you can stay updated in writing networks.
- Meetup – Meetup is a site which helps strangers meet one another by planning tangible events. Not surprisingly, there is a page dedicated to helping writers meet one another.
Just like many aspects of life, doing something you enjoy in the company of others can help you stay motivated. Hopefully these tips will help you not only find motivation to write but also so you can become a better writer.
Elaine Hirsch is kind of a jack-of-all-interests, from education and history to medicine and videogames. This makes it difficult to choose just one life path, so she is currently working as a writer for various education-related sites and writing about all these things instead.