Online writing groups offer support, accountability, and motivation. These tips for joining a writer’s club online are from guest blogger Aimee Cirucci; this writer and teacher describes how her writing group helps her sell her writing.
Before her tips, a quip:
“I think about Tolstoy, Flaubert and Dickens, and I’m jealous of what those authors accomplished,” said James Michener. “Because I am jealous, I am a writer now. I remain jealous and this gives me a guide to what I might accomplish.”
Growing as a writer – learning to write well – involves interacting with other writers…and sometimes even being jealous of them! To learn more about writer’s groups, click on Writing Alone, Writing Together: A Guide for Writers and Writing Groups by Judy Reeves.
And, here are Aimee’s three tips for joining an online writing group, plus her experience finding contacts, confidence and cash from her writing group…
Online Writing Groups – 3 Tips for Joining a Writer’s Club
1. Learn the writing group’s etiquette policies, and follow them. Most groups list their guidelines in order to keep the forum focused on writing-related issues. Take note of these guidelines and follow them to build a reputation as a serious member and writer.
2. Only sign up for the writing groups that you can commit time to. E-mail conversations can build up faster than dust. In the excitement about joining these kind of groups, it is easy to overreach. A writer’s club member who can’t even read the e-mails in a timely fashion is no member at all, so start slow and sign up for only what you can handle.
3. Give and receive. Online writing groups aren’t a place for blatant publicity or one-way information exchanges. If you received a critique, offer one back. Remember that the group is a place for information sharing, not hoarding. Online writing groups are as much about giving as getting!
A sample of current Yahoo writing groups:
- Freelance Writers and Editors
- Write From Home
- Freelance Writers Association
- Frustrated Writers
- The Writers With Humor Internet Discussion List
Finding Contacts, Confidence and Cash in an Online Writing Group
I joined the group not really knowing what to expect. I was still very much a reader, dipping a tentative toe into the writing waters. Within a couple of hours of joining the online writing group, my e-mail box was filled with messages from writers debating the importance of long standing writing rules, telling stories of their first sales, and sharing industry news. The information was a valuable and the group was full of experts and published writers I had long followed.
As my contacts increased, I also found ways to make money writing. Members shared writing opportunities with the group, and I sold two humorous essays to websites. As I delved into young adult literature, I joined a list for teen writers and there too found support and sales ideas. When I decided to write a book proposal, it was friends from my online groups who signed on as contributors, critiqued my work and shared tips that helped me find a literary agent.
I have never met most of my online writing colleagues, but their impact cannot be underestimated. Thanks to the Internet our diverse group has conquered what divides us: geography, commitments, distance, time, age, and interests, by focusing instead on what unites us: the craft and business of writing. And in doing so, we’ve multiplied our success!
To learn more about writing clubs, read 7 Tips for Starting a Writer’s Group.
If you have any thoughts or questions on these tips for joining an online writing group, please comment below…
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Aimee Cirucci is an educator, writer, and communications professional. She teaches at Temple University, where she is also pursuing an MS in Communications.