Writing was a lonely profession. Every writer has to sit at her desk and write/type in isolation to ensure her dream idea turns into a book. An author lives in her own head, talks to imaginary characters, and is often considered a recluse.
But writers are humans, and all humans seek out their own ilk. That search often culminates in Writing Groups, and you, gentle writer, are no longer alone.
Writing Groups are like a gift for a writer which keeps on giving. While we have always had these groups operating in specific areas and cities, introvert writers no longer feel left out. Now, Writing Groups are also available at the click of a button.
Whether you are a freelancer, a fiction/ nonfiction writer, a blogger, a novelist, a poet, you will encounter many ups and downs in the writing process. A Writing Group can help you throughout the process.
Let’s explore Writing Groups at length and also check out some of the Writing Groups in India.
What are Writing Groups?
Writing Groups are a group consisting of writers (duh!). They may be published authors or unpublished newbies. They could also be writing on different themes or genres. The idea of a Writing Group is to create a support group for writers which can help aspiring writers as well as published authors to socialize, express themselves and support each other.
These groups provide a platform to nurture your thoughts, improve your skills, and engage with the publishing and literary world in a better way. They motivate you to reach your writing goals. And also celebrate your success. They create an atmosphere that can help you unwind. Writing groups also relieve you of the frustration and stress of dealing with rejections by providing encouragement and motivation. They remind you that you are no longer alone.
Most Writing Groups are free, and entail no more cost than the bill at the coffee shop where the writers meet.
Writing groups bring like-minded people together who are eager to listen to each other. These Writing Groups provide aspiring writers, readers, literary and publishing agents a network of people who can help each other grow, learn and evolve.
What to expect from Writing groups?
Feedback and Reviews
You can’t be a writer without a reader. However, even before a book is published, a writer needs readers (also known as the beta readers) for their manuscripts. A small and trusted circle of people who can share honest feedback on their writing is extremely important for any writer. Some of the Writing groups arrange events and workshops with reading and feedback sessions, while some provide it online.
Many of the Writing groups share writing prompts and writing exercises which can be great for any writer. Such activities also ensure to keep the demons of Writer’s Block away. You can try your hand at free writing or even experiment with a new genre of writing like this and also get feedback on it.
A lot of marketing experts recommend authors have an On-the-go team through which they can market their books. You never know which Writing group can help you discover your On-the-go team for your next book!
People from different professions come together in support groups and act as a medium to make your work visible. Not only aspiring writers but also published authors, editors, and literary agents show a keen interest in these groups. If you get lucky, you may end up signing your deal with them for your book.
When should you join Writing groups?
It is never too late to be a part of any Writing group. After all, it is all about finding your tribe.
Why should you join Writing groups?
Like any other art, writing is also something where learning never ends. Through different articles, recommended books, workshops, online sessions, and different other discussions, there is always so much to learn in these Writing groups.
You could be someone who is just starting out or are someone who has been writing for a while now. But one cannot deny, we all do need guidance at times. Be it on writing a particular scene or helping with research. Or maybe checking if your understanding of a particular thing is correct to be used in the story.
Encouragement and Motivation
The writing profession requires patience and dedication. You have to sit daily for hours to put your thoughts into words. Support groups make it easier for you by setting a schedule and reading sessions.
How to look for Writing Groups?
There are various sources to help you reach the writing groups. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have many such Writing groups/ pages that invite aspiring writers. Popular book reviewing platform Goodreads also is a great place to find writing groups.
In recent times, Apps such as Meetup, LBB, Tumblr have gained popularity for connecting individuals and bloggers to such Writing groups. You can join the online groups or even look for groups in your area for physical interactions based on your choice.
However, it is important to know your needs as a writer beforehand.
Which Writing Groups should you Join?
Anyone who is in love with the written word can join these Writing groups. Are you looking for an ideal ambience to push you into regular writing? Or do you want to talk to fellow writers who understand your genre to discuss your book?
Each group has its code of conduct and culture. For you to benefit from the group, you must relate to them. Read the group descriptions beforehand to understand what the group is about and how you will benefit from it.
While making a choice, you should remember the core idea of the group and respect their guidelines.
What are the types of Writing Groups?
The core idea of a Writing group is to empower writers and help them to convert their thoughts into notable literature. They can be broadly classified into two categories:
Online Writing groups
These groups are for people who want to interact with others in the writing community but not by attending physical meetings or events due to various reasons.
Offline Writing groups
These groups are suitable for people who do not use social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram. They are also a great place for interaction for people who are extroverted by nature and enjoy physical interactions with like-minded people.
If we were to narrow it down, it can further be categorized as per genre, the form of writing (fiction/nonfiction/essay/memoir /poetry/Short story/Flash fiction, etc.), Type of author (Indie/ Traditionally Published/ Self Published/ Kindle), location (city/country/continent/zone), gender, language, theme and many other such nuances of writing.
Recommended Writing Groups in India
Online Writing Groups
With a huge network of new and established writers, these groups provide various opportunities to learn something new daily. You will find members around the globe raising their queries, helping others, and discussing topics related to writing and publishing, and marketing books.
Offline Writing Groups
(Please note: Due to the pandemic, some of these Writing Groups have been meeting virtually since early 2020.)
The Gaslight Cafe – Write, Publish and Sell your book
This group is founded by Harshit Bhardwaj, who is the author of a forthcoming book with Harper. A book marketer and publishing consultant based out of Delhi by profession, he enjoys hosting meet-ups and workshops to help authors get their books out and reach the target audience.
Founded by Dhara Kothari, Story Club (Katha Kosa) is a club for storytellers and story writers. They arrange story-telling and story-sharing events based on pre-decided themes. They also organize workshops and various gaming events based on stories for fun and relaxation. Located primarily in Mumbai, this group involves people across multiple age groups. It provides an excellent platform to share stories through different mediums.
Mumbai Writestuff writing club
‘Writing often is regarded as a lonely profession, but the members of the Writestuff Writing Club vouch for the opposite,‘ says The Indian Express while expressing Mumbai Writestuff club. This club encourages writers to come together and share their stories for self-improvement. They arrange meetups regularly where they teach about the art of writing. At Writestuff writing club, writing is seen as a fun, cathartic, healing, and therapeutic activity rather than being solitary activity. This Mumbai-based club is open for all above the age of 15. The founder of this group, Patricia Chandrashekhar, has helped people write their books, TV scripts and earn money by doing something apart from their ordinary daily lives.
Initially called Bombay Writer’s Club (BWC), this forum has remained one of the oldest support groups for writers in Mumbai. They listen to your work over coffee and snacks, arrange open mic events at renowned places like Prithvi Café. They are associated with cultural and art festivals like Kala Ghoda, which gives you ample opportunity to show your talent among strangers. They were among the first in the country to organize poetry slams inviting poets from all over the nation.
Coffee and books can never go wrong, but what makes this group different is how they extend this luxury to beer. This group encourages readers and writers to join their book discussions in cafes or bars in Mumbai. This group helps readers know the books’ stories and what the author goes through while creating bestsellers.
The Poetry Club
The Poetry Club is one of the most active clubs exclusively for poem lovers. It encourages poets to share their poems on open platforms. They look forward to giving a chance to new talent. Besides, they also encourage other forms of literature. They usually meet every month, and you are supposed to grab your place well in advance by reaching out to them. They have both online and offline presence with a great reach.
Write Club Bangalore
Founded by Sharath Komarraju, HarperCollins Author, Write Club Bangalore is the platform where people can come and write. They organize meets where they ask people to write on the given topic. They evaluate and provide feedback on their work during the session. They help the writers socialize and encourage them to come and share their writing skills.
Readers’ and Writers’ Club
Founded in 2014 by Ahava Communications, the club organises regular meet up with writers and book lovers. The club is also associated with the Kolkata Literary Festival and Kolkata Book Fair.
- Join : Readers’ & Writers’ Club
Stories that matter
As their name suggests, this support group aims to listen to and share stories that matter. Jasleen Khurana, who founded this group, believes that each story is significant and deserves an audience. They arrange open mic events to allow the writers to share their stories and poems. The Delhi-based support group aims to recognize young talent by providing a platform for writers and storytellers.
Delhi Aspiring Writers Group (DAWG)
Founded by Vineet Kalucha, DAWG is a club that brings aspiring and mature writers together for their growth. DAWG does not limit its activities to writing meetups and workshops. They often invite experts and published authors to share their experiences and stories. If you are looking for inspiration, honest critique, and review, then this group is a perfect place for you. This group is for everyone interested in poetry, novels, fiction and nonfiction, and short stories. Both English and Hindi writers are equally invited.
Write Club Hyderabad
Write Club Hyderabad, the largest writers club of Hyderabad, welcomes writers from all genres. They arrange free weekly events to foster the writing skills of their members. Their goal is to achieve a collaborative, supportive, and social setting in their club. They also publish the best works of their participants.
The Mockingbirds Chennai Poetry Book
This forum is named after an acclaimed novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, a Pulitzer Prize winner. It is a club to inspire poets and spread the art of expression. This group not only shares the work of their members but also publishes for them. They are very active in organizing contests, open mic events at restaurants, and learning workshops for interested people.
Writer’s Support Group comes with ample opportunities for you to learn, explore, exchange your thoughts, socialize and seek help. However, it is important to find the correct support group that matches your needs. Social groups are meant to help you through your writer journey, not for confusing you among groups of different tribes having different purposes. As Prof. Dumbledore says,
Now, the only thing you have to do is, ask the right question to yourself before you choose your Hogwarts.