We have a wide range of members in age and experience - from published, to about to publish, to editing the draft, to just starting out. We've got people driving from the next county when they can to join us, cause they like us. We've had about half a dozen new people join in the last few months. I think the word has leaked out that Evansville has a lively bunch of writers meeting regularly.
Since we've grown, beginning in March we start bi-monthly meetings. Several of us are eager to get that extra meeting. We like the opportunity talk and learn about writing. In December we had our 1st Monthly Writers' Stress-buster Luncheons once a month. That seems to be a hit with everyone. We've had a good turnout for them.
Tonight was the 1st Online Accountability Session that I hope we'll be able to continue in some way. The current plan is to meet online twice a month, on the weeks we don't have a regular meeting. That should round us out enough so that folks that haven't been able to attend the monthly meetings may be able to attend at least one of the events each month. They're designed to last an hour and are primarily to give an account of our writing progress and encourage one another, thus the reason for the time limit. The concept may change as time goes on.
This first session worked really well, aside from a few technical glitches. Molly's webcam wasn't very cooperative and I got booted at one point. Robin had trouble getting her sound going. Kimbra, who I trained in person a few weeks ago, seems to be the only one who didn't have any major problems. There is something to be said for OJT. Since there are cyber limitations to how many can be in a hangout at one time, it was probably a good thing it was a small group.
The energy and excitement of the group is just amazing. When you have members actively seeking new members and bringing them in, you know something is working.
I can't stress enough how important it is for a writer to have the support of other writers. It has helped my writing so much to have other writers who are struggling with the same issues I struggle with and to not only encourage them but to be encouraged in return. Sometimes it takes time to find the right mix.
So, what are you looking for in a writing group? How important is it for the members to actually be writing and seeking to improve their craft? Is there organization and structure to the meetings? Did you like the atmosphere of the meeting? Did you feel an affinity with the group? Do you come away feeling you gained something from the meeting? How can you contribute to the group?
They may sound like silly questions but the answers will more than likely tell you if you're in the right place. You'll learn something with any group, not all of it about writing. You will have to determine if it is meeting your needs. Bear in mind that no group is perfect but if you stick with it, continue to make connections, focusing on what you're looking for in a group, you can find the group that works for you.
If you're in the area, you can always visit our group. Check out the River City Writers' blog for a calendar of events.