Creating a writing group with trusted friends and authors is one way to provide accountability, moral support, and feedback – and can be a great asset as you advance your writing career.
Every month for the past ten years, without fail, I have honored a commitment to three writer friends. Our purpose is straightforward: support each other as we work to advance our writing careers.
The three simple practices we employ contain the following benefits:
- Focused goals
- Assessed progress
- Record of accomplishment
- Gentle accountability
- Moral support
- Shared connections and resources
- Trusted feedback
- Rock-solid friendship
Create your own group, adopt (and/or adapt) these three practices, and enjoy these benefits while you advance your writing career.
Practice #1: The Writing Life Contract
Every six months we each create a “writing life contract” in which we map out our goals for the following six months. When six months have passed we review our contract, celebrate our successes, and create a new contract.
Our contracts include goals for each of the following areas:
- Writing – research, drafting, writing, revising
- Business of writing – submitting work, querying agents, following up on queries, applying for grants, networking, etc.
- Reading – state specific reading goals; for instance, read thrillers to study pacing, or read novels by Colum McCann
- Support – who you’ll support, who you’ll reach out to for support
- Personal – whatever makes you happy and energetic, like literary events you plan to attend, health-related activities, spending time with friends, etc.
Read a sample Writing Life Contract.
Practice #2: The monthly check in
On the first of each month, the four of us exchange “check in emails.” We report in on each of the areas listed in our contracts, ask for advice, share valuable resources and reading recommendations, cheer each other on, commiserate, celebrate, and generally support each other in any way we can.
Practice #3: Exchanging work
Whenever we need readers for our work, we’re immediately there for each other. There’s nothing as valuable as long-term readers who have seen your work mature over time. Read more about the benefits of a writing group.
Don’t yet have a group?
- Join a local Meet Up group.
- Check your local library for group listings.
- Take courses – in person or online – and connect with your new colleagues.
- Attend a writers’ conference or retreat.
- Find online forums where you can connect with other writers.
How about you? What helpful practices do you employ to advance your writing career? Share your comments below, and join us on Twitter Wednesday, November 18 from 4 – 5 PM (Eastern) for #BBChat. To be notified about our upcoming BookBaby Twitter Chats, sign up here!
Image via ShutterStock.com.
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