Tag Archives: writer groups

Need Motivation? Join a Writers’ Group!

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 There are professionals, amateurs, the published, the unpublished, and groups that include writers from every genre.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.

Be Motivated

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.

Become a Better Writer

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.

Finding the Right Group 

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.

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Rejection Reflection

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“Often we allow ourselves to be upset by small things we should despise and forget. We lose many irreplaceable hours brooding over grievances that, in a year’s time, will be forgotten by us and by everybody. No, let us devote our life to worthwhile actions and feelings, to great thoughts, real affections and enduring undertakings.” Andre Maurois ~ 1885-1967, Writer

I found this quote in my inbox this morning, courtesy of insightoftheday.com.  It was the epitome of what I felt yesterday and still, a bit this morning.

Rejection. That sting of not winning a contest, or not getting a reply from an editor or getting a reply that says “you suck.” OK, not exactly those words, but it feels  like that is what they’re saying, right?

  

Then, yesterday, another blow to my writer’s ego. The “Silent Character Contest” judge should have emailed me to announce that I won the Grand Prize. Alas, after obsessively methodically refreshing my email, there was no winning message. There was no message from this judge at all. My heart sank when I read on their website that the Grand Prize winner was…not me. I worked on this short fiction piece for weeks, editing, rewriting, eliminating unnecessary words, letting it sit and then coming back to bleed on it again. My efforts were not completely unrecognized; my story did make it past the 2nd round of judging.  But it was a rejection, just the same.

What did I do? You’re expecting a ballad to play here as I triumphantly declare, “As God as my witness, I will never go hungry again!” OK, enough of the Gone with the Wind melodrama. I didn’t cry, but felt like I could. I shared the news with my husband who was most sympathetic. I also posted on my writers’ group blog, my support system, the wind beneath my wings…Seriously, though, just typing how I felt, I knew these writer mamas would understand. Family and friends are wonderful, but a fellow writer truly feels your pain in rejection.

These wonderful women sent me virtual Frappachino’s, chocolate and hugs. But most effective were their words of encouragement. The “it’s OK to feel this way, but get back on that bronco and rein in an acceptance, cowgirl!”  Things I knew but needed reminding. I cannot say enough about the positive chi that comes from a writers’ community, whether local or virtual. Go get yourself one!

And, for more words on how to handle rejection, check out the last two posts & comments on Stories of life: one mom’s odyssey. Then come back and share your sorrows of rejection here!

 

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Filed under Advice, Believe, emotion, Perseverance, writers