If you’re a writer, then you probably already know how valuable criticism and a fresh pair of eyes can be to your process. Sometimes all you need to write well is feedback. Have you ever considered started a writing group? And having monthly meetings? Here is all you have to do to get started:
1. Reach out to the writers that you know. Don’t know any writers? Reach out to people on writing forums, or in writing classes, or at the local coffee shop. Find people who write and invite them to join your writing group. Once you have your group picked (try to keep it under ten people so that you can cycle back to your work and benefit from feedback more quickly), then pick a date.
2. Volunteer yourself, or someone else if they’re willing, to go first. Hand out a manuscript and give everyone some time before the first meeting to read and comment on the work.
3. Read. If it’s your manuscript, then reread, but make sure that you read it all before the meeting. If you don’t take the time to read the work, then the group will suffer, and it is unfair. Especially if you suddenly have a lot to say about your own work, but no one else’s. Anyone who hasn’t read everything should be out of the group!
4. Meet. And make it a party. Have everyone bring some food, or have the person whose work everyone is reading host and serve dinner. Or order a pizza. Have plenty of wine! After you socialize and eat, sit and give feedback! Make sure you are respectful, and go by the Iowa model if you have to (where the writer can’t speak until everyone is done).
5. Enjoy! Sit back and enjoy getting and giving feedback. Take advantage of having a group of readers to ask questions to. Repeat the whole process next month (or next week)!
Note: The meeting every month model is generally used for longer works. If you want to get more feedback more quickly, make it a story group and have everyone put something forth (or half the group one month and half the other) for workshop.