Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Free Writing Groups @ your library

Tip of the Day: If you are looking for a writing group, you might have to look no further than your public library.

With Kate and Deena talking about writing retreats, I thought I'd talk to the budget writers among us. Those that want to get more serious about their writing, but maybe can't afford to go to a retreat right now or with young kids find it more difficult to travel to retreats.

The Web is great for these people with getting expert advice on writing, querying, and getting support from other writers. But sometimes you can't replace chatting with writers in-person.

And I thought some of you might not be aware that many of your local libraries have a wealth of information for writers (yes, shameless plug as a librarian, I know). Not only in terms of great books to check out, but also many of them have information about free local writers group or host a writer's group of their very own!!

Here in Michigan, almost every library I know of does programs at least one time a year for writers. Some of them might be bringing in authors to talk about their books or they could have weekly or monthly writing groups, like ours does.

Since the writing group at my library is about to start back up, I thought I'd send good vibes out into the universe and tell people why free library groups are cool, in the hopes we'll get more people at ours.

1.) They are usually free. Enough said.

2.) You often have more diverse writers. From poets to non-fiction writers to journalist to romance novelists to YA novelists. And don't discount advice from people outside your writing box. Many of my novels involve romance and for that reason I find the advice of my particular group member Meryl of Meryl's Musings indispensable. The romance in my novels often needs work, therefore, having her read my writing through her romance-author eyes helps me be aware of things my YA critique partners might not think of.

3.) Sometimes readers attend. In our group, we often have people that have never written at all, but just like to read and talk about writing. These people are tremendously helpful because no matter how hard you try not too, once you've started to write you look at every book through a writer's eyes. And in doing so, it's hard to forget how you read as just a reader. But people who don't write can do this, and therefore give you excellent feedback on your book from a reader's point of view.

4.) You get more people reading your book, which means you get more people to tell you sticky situations. And if one of them thinks your beginning doesn't pull them in or your character is too mean, then chances are when you send it off to an agent or editor, one of them might see your sticky situations, too. So it's best to clean them up now.

5.) You are already at the library, so it's easy to get more books!

--Emily, Miss Awaiting an Agent


amuse me said...

Thank you, Emily, for the nice words and plug for my blog. I am so looking forward to having the group start up again. Sitting in a library and looking at other authors' work is a real motivator for me. See you this week.

Anonymous said...

Would it be inappropriate to ask which library? I'm in Ann Arbor, which I believe isn't so far from you. Do people come to your group from out of town? I've connected with some people online to talk writing with, but haven't looked for or found any local writing groups yet.

Kate Fall said...

Ha, I love your point 5, Em!

Meryl, I totally agree--groups are a great motivator.

And I won't forget: if I need writing resources, check out my local library! The answer to so many of life's questions.

Lisa Schroeder said...

Our local library doesn't do anything that I know of. And it's a big, beautiful library with lots of patrons. I wonder why?

Emily Marshall said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emily Marshall said...

Jenifer, I forgot to mention that the Ann Arbor brings in lots of authors, too. If you write YA books, they bring in a big-name YA author once a year in conjunction with their teen writing contest.

Also, they have tons of NaNoWriMo groups that meet in November all over Ann Arbor (I meant to go to several this year).

And also there's a big book fair in March or April (I think), that has writing classes, too. Some you have to pay for, but some are free. You can email me at the Web address listed on the site, too.

Kristina Springer said...

Oooh-- jealous again. I wish our library did something-- it doesn't either! They are really good about doing programs for children and teens but no writing groups above that age.