My writing group is an instrumental component of my writing process. They inspire me through their own dedication to their writing, hold me accountable for consistent writing, and provide feedback that blends compliment and critique.
Our group met at a writing retreat hosted by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators-Michigan Chapter in 2013 and we have been meeting online ever since. Although we see each other from time to time at writing conferences, we know one another primarily through our weekly emails.
Each week, one person submits 10 pages for everyone to review. Some of us provide feedback using Google Docs, others use Word’s Track Changes, while others write comments in an email or in a different color font within the Word file. The next week, another person shares her ten pages. Our only rule is you can only submit for feedback if you have provided feedback to the other four members’ pieces over the last four weeks. Sometimes, we play speedy catch-up before submitting our work when it is our turn in the rotation.
Even when life creates busy-ness that invades my choice to write, I have a commitment to write with these follow writers. All of us are experiencing successes with our writing, big and small. I believe our group’s success is due to the commitment we have to one another within our writing group.
If you call yourself a writer, I believe the number one way to participate fully in the writerly life, aside from writing more days than not, is to choose active membership in a writing group.