5 Tips on How to Manage a Powerful and Effective Writing Group

Writing Coaches: You Have Your Writing Group Up and Running — All The Hard Work Is Over, Right? Wrong!

1) How to Demonstrate Proper Etiquette When it Comes to Delivering Constructive Criticism

Advise everyone in the group to start positively — with a compliment or praise, and then offer honest but objective, well-supportive, and practical advice — then conclude with another set of compliments.

2) Keep a Solid Agenda, But Remember Not to Get Stuck in a Rut — Agendas are Guides, Not Commandments Written on Stone

Believe it or not, you might find that within your writing group you will have several high-achievers who might be ready to email a writing sample a week ahead of time to give others a chance to read and positively critique their work before the next meeting.

3) Establish Expectations for Constructive Criticism, And Do Your Homework

When you read the writing of other group members, take notes and write down questions, or suggestions, as well as compliments. Be specific when you give a critique, whether that be praising a vivid description in particular, or recommending more character development with detailed advice.

4) Take Breaks Seriously — Sometimes Stopping is Your BEST Start

At regular intervals step back from the main focus of critiquing and take a moment to meet just to advise or brainstorm about how to organize notes, do research, or work on character development, plot, tone, and so on.

5) Check-In: Periodically Evaluate How The Writing Group is Developing and Growing

Ask yourself, are your meetings too often, not often enough, or just right? Are there certain members that are missing too many meetings, or perhaps wall-flowering, or does one person dominate the whole meeting? Is everybody getting what they want out of the experience, and is there value being delivered?

Now Over to You

Do you regularly participate in a writing group? Do you run your own writing group? What are some tips that you could give to add to this list?

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