A local writer recently contacted me to learn where to find a writing group. Below you will find her email and my response. What I did not share was how I found my writing group. Here’s a little backstory:
After I moved to Raleigh I read about a writing group in the Cameron Village Library calendar. When I spoke with the librarian about it, she told me to check out Meetup and search for writing groups. I had never been in a critique group before! I joined five different critique groups, all with their own formats and structures and various levels of writers at different stages of their careers. This was overwhelming because every night of the week I met with a different group. I managed this for two months before I was exhausted. At that time it was a perfect way to immerse myself with the local community, figure out the format I liked, and find a group that gave me the most useful feedback. But then the organizer of my group resigned and no one volunteered to take over. So I did. The group had about 80 members then, and today there are over 400. Read more below and click the link to read about different writing critique group formats if you want to start your own group.
And now for the email I received:
Good day to you! I live in the Raleigh/Cary area. I am 25 years old and hate my job, so I escape through writing. I am in no way a professional writer, but I believe I have talent. I am looking for a group to meet with to hear their writing and to share my writings with them. I need someone to hear what I am writing so I can get a feel on my level of talent and how far I should explore it. Maybe you could help me find a group to share with or have information on where I could find one? I appreciate any information you may have.
And my response:
Thanks for contacting me. I turned 25 the week after I resigned from my job. 🙂 I’ve been writing full-time ever since. (That was 2010.)
If you came across my website you probably saw that I organize Triangle Writers. There are critique groups that meet twice per month. (One in Brier Creek, another at Triangle Town Center, and another in North Raleigh.) The group is large and we have several Event Organizers who now run each of the critique groups. The groups are mainly focused on creative writing – novels, short fiction, memoirs, etc. You will definitely learn a lot about structure and get a feel for how your writing compares. These are not beginning writers though – that doesn’t mean you need to have work published in a journal in order to join. It just means your work should be free of spelling errors, have complete sentences, and generally maintain appropriate tense/POV. (The critiques will help pick out the parts you miss!) I always recommend new members sit in and observe one of the critique sessions to get a solid idea of the format and what they can expect to receive and contribute. If you decide to participate and contribute, you will need to commit to regular attendance. There is no membership fee for Triangle Writers. I occasionally post a seminar or workshop that I instruct that requires a cost to attend, but otherwise there is no cost for you.
Also, I created a Resources for Writers page you may want to bookmark and use as you develop your writing.
Sorry you are not enjoying your job! Hope that your writing is providing an adequate escape.