Do you belong to a local writer’s group? When I moved, one of the ways that I thought I could meet like-minded people in my community was through a writer’s group. A writing friend introduced me to a local chapter.
After joining both the local chapter and the state organization, I found that as in most things there were good aspects and not so good. My chapter is made up of a lot of poets so there’s a high focus on poetry. The programs are a mix of speakers and open readings sessions. The speakers are diverse which is great and the opportunity to practice reading to a group is wonderful. The critique sessions were largely about poetry and so were less helpful. While I write a little poetry, I didn’t feel I added much to those sessions. Conversely, since there are a few memoir and fiction writers but no mystery authors, the critiques weren’t as useful as I’d like.
The nice surprise was that the chapter publishes an anthology every year. It’s unpaid but there is a blind submission process for approval, previously published works are acceptable and rights revert to the author after a period of time. The state organization also has several contests which are open to chapter members only. So, there were some unexpected benefits.
I’m still new to the group and finding my way to participate and meet more people. At the same time, I’m submitting a previously published piece to the anthology and considering what I might submit for the contests. I’m still building my resume so any new exposure and added credentials are a plus in my mind.
What about you? Do you belong to a local group? What were the pros and cons? Did you find them useful?