Three types of writing groups, part 3
I’ve belonged to several writing groups over the years–some focused on critiquing and some focused on writing. But there’s another type of writing group:
The Packet-Focused Writing Group: I graduated from a low residency MFA program a few years ago where we sent packets of annotations and creative work to our advisors every three weeks. Though the schedule was often grueling, sometimes I miss having to send those packets off and getting feedback on my work.
My blog partner and I recently decided to send each other writing packets–to motivate us, keep us moving in the direction of our goals, and to make us accountable to somebody other than the face in the mirror. You could try this with another writer you respect or even with a group of writers.
Our rules: We’re highly flexible, but our general plan is to email a packet to each other by Sunday night of each week. The packets can contain anything we want feedback on–a poem, a group of poems, a chapter, an outline, story ideas, a query letter, a resume, etc. We also send a short cover letter (email) with any questions we have or what we want the other to focus on.
My partner happens to be a fabulous editor (lucky me), but in my first packet I told her that I didn’t want her to do any editing. Instead, I wanted her to scan the first 50 pages of my memoir for flow of story and chapter order because this is what I need help with as I begin to whittle away 20,000 to 30,000 words.
If you don’t already belong to a writing group, I highly recommend checking some out or starting your own. Try several. Find the one that fits you. And, realize that as you grow and change, so may your writing group. Don’t stay with a group if it no longer serves your needs.
Please share any writing group experiences you’ve had–good or bad–in the comments below.