Should You Join a Writer's Group?

We decided to start off our writers' smorgasbord with a discussion about writing groups. What are writing groups? What are they good for? What are they bad for? Should you be a member of a writing group?

We here at the Ramble are all members of the same writing group, affectionately known as the Word Vomit Writers Group. We formed about a year ago and meet once a week online in a Google+ Hangout. We critique each others' writing, participate in writing activities, share anything we learn about writing, build friendships, and generally just have a good time.

So what are the pros and cons of being in a writing group? Well, we have five different opinions here for you to read and consider. Below are snippets from each of our own personal blog posts on this topic. Follow the link beneath each snippet to read the full article. Feel free to read all of the posts, or just the ones that interest you.

Josh Morrey (joshmorreywriting.blogspot.com)
Writing Groups; The Good, The Bad, and the Wary
Why join a writing group? I heard it said once that the first draft of a story is for you, the second draft is for your readers. If you’re someone who writes simply for the enjoyment that you get out of writing, and you have no intention of ever publishing your work, then a writing group may not be the thing for you. However, if you have aspirations of publication, it’s imperative to learn how to write for others. 

Tom Abbott (forgefire.blogspot.com)
Ever wondered if you ought to try a writer’s group?  I’ll share a few things that I’ve learned, plus tips on how you can get the most from your writer’s group.  Probably the most fun we've has has been through the group activities that we do together.  Read on for more!

Heidi Thornock (heidithornock.blogspot.com)
Even experienced and highly successful authors have their own individualized versions of critique groups. It's pretty clear that a peer review group is something closely aligned with success as a writer. But rather than just adding "Get a Critique Group" to your Writing To-Do List, have you ever considered why you are actually seeking such a group? What value does a critique group add to your writing? And why is it so intricately tied to success?

Steve Meyers (www.start-off-smart.com)
Why Join a Writer's Group?
The most complete answers I give my clients in my day job as an online optimization consultant often start with, “it depends.”  What you want out of your writing has a lot to do with what you’ll gain by joining a writing group.  Do you write for fun, as a creative outlet?  Or do you want to get published?

Heidi Wilde (leyiralane.blogspot.com)
Writing Groups 101
There are many reasons to join a writing group; possibly one for every writer, the key is to find the group that fulfills your reasons.  This blog post will go into the reasons I decided to join a writers group and what I have gained from it (as well as a few things to keep in mind when deciding on a group).