The Good, Bad, and Ugly of a Writing Group- Part 2

by limebirdkate

I have had multiple requests for more information regarding online writing groups. Online groups have their pros and cons like anything else. For me, as a full-time mother (especially when the kids were much littler and not in school), I found that online groups were perfect for my limited schedule. I could log on whenever I wanted and join in the virtual discussion. I could submit something for review on Saturday morning and check back later that night or even 3 days later to see what the critters said–all from the comfort of my home. This also suited my shy, reserved personality.

The biggest drawback to this set-up was that there was no dialogue. People could say what they needed to say, but if there ever was the slightest confusion, the thread of the conversation was quickly lost. Also, because people were “talking” at different times during the day or over a span of days, you sometimes had to wait that long for a response to a question you might have had. I missed the immediacy and the back-and-forth dialogue that you get when you meet with people in person.

Online writing groups also can be quite demanding of your time. Depending on how you look at it, this could be a pro or a con. The online groups are time-savers in the sense of travel/commuting. However, lots of time gets eaten up when you are trying to get questions answered, or waiting for people to review your material. Don’t forget, being part of a group means you must review the work of other members as a return favor for them critiquing your material. This, of course, takes even more time. Knowing how much time you are willing to invest in a writing group will help you decide which group(s) could be the best fit.

For some writers this all works perfectly. Whether we’re full-time parents stuck at home, or if we live in rural areas with no hope of ever getting out, or even if we’re just super-shy and don’t do well meeting people–online writing groups can be lifesavers.

Below I have compiled a list of various groups that I have either had personal experience with or that I have heard about. Please keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list. Finding groups online is really a matter of Googling various keywords and seeing what you come up with. But at least this bunch below can get you started.

1. The Writer Magazine http://www.writermag.com/groups.aspx  # *

2. WritersCafe.org http://www.writerscafe.org/groups/Constructive-Criticism/4723/

3. Absolute Write Water Cooler http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/  #

4. Writer’s Digest http://community.writersdigest.com/groups

5. Poets & Writers http://www.pw.org/connect  #

6. Writers.com http://www.writers.com/welcome.html

7. Forwriters. com http://www.forwriters.com/groups.html *

8.  and last but certainly not least… Limebird Writers Forums http://limebird.proboards.com/ **

# These sites are more forum-centered than group-centered. They also offer the opportunity to find beta readers (writing partners as opposed to a group of people). Forums have their upsides and downsides. The most negative experience I have had in forums is that because your material is public for anyone to read you are at the mercy of all kinds of critiques. Sometimes people can be rotten. My suggestion would be to go ahead and register, but don’t submit anything until you read the comments that people make on the writing of others. You will quickly learn if this site is for you or not.

* these particular sites are a hub of links to local and online writing groups, and writer organizations

** I am shamelessly plugging our own forums on Limebird. Because this is such a young site with writers whose aim is to be encouraging and helpful, there is the potential of ensuring the forums can be handled differently than the forums I listed above. I urge you to check out our forums, put up a post in one of the categories, and watch Limebirds flock to you!

Advertisements

15 Comments to “The Good, Bad, and Ugly of a Writing Group- Part 2”

  1. This is a fantastic post LimebirdKate! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and for taking the time to organise these online writing groups. I’m sure they will be extremely helpful! Bravo 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for this information! I may have to rethink my writing group feelings. This could be a good thing.

  3. I love doing things online… not that I hate going out and seeing my fellow human face to face, but over time I have come to do probably most things online. When I was in school – online. I work at home – online…if I can avoid talking out loud to people I don’t know, you can count me in!

    I have had some experience with online writing forums though, that sort of left me feeling — meh. It was for screenwriting (NYC Midnight for anyone who enjoys entering short story/script contests) and what I found was that there were three groups of people. 1. people who only wanted to receive feedback. 2. those who felt themselves superior to others and felt the need to talk down to everyone. 3. People who could not accept anyone’s criticism, constructive or otherwise. Doesn’t matter that what they wrote makes sense to no one but themselves….that’s how it’s going to be written and come hell or high water it won’t be changed.

    That’s the only experience I have sharing my work with anyone that isn’t related to me, or my best friend.

    And for the life of me I don’t know why I haven’t signed up at the Limebird forum yet… .silly me!!

    • Come on Laura, get with it 😉

    • Hi Laura,

      Yup, I have run into those same types of people in writing groups. Although, I will say there is a fourth type: writers who are eager to help other writers, anticipate and want constructive feedback, and who know they will always have something to learn.

      I hope you do try the Limebird forum. I’ll be looking for you!! 😉

  4. Thank you for the info and the links. I had an experience with The Critique Circle and found it less than helpful. Eager to publish, these critters were more interested in accumulating “points” to get their work critiqued than in writing a thorough critique of anyone’s work. I would spend hours critiquing a piece and get back a critique of my piece that had just barely enough words in it to get the maximum “points” (often lifting quotes from my work and saying “nice job!” to get their word count up). UGH!

    • Hi Lorna,

      That’s a terrible way to critique writing. When it’s made into a business like that, then it’s bound to be one-sided. I have had a similar experience where I spent hours critiquing someone’s manuscript and I thought they were spending time on mine, also. It wasn’t until after I sent my comments back that I discovered he “forgot” to work on mine. He never went back to work on it. Stuff like that is what drove me to find a live, in-person writing group so that people were held accountable for their comments.

      However, online is sometimes the only option. It’s just a matter of finding the right one.

      Thanks for commenting!

  5. Thanks limebirdkate for compiling the list!

    • You’re quite welcome. I hope you find the list useful. I’d love to hear from anyone if they start up with any of these groups. Good luck!

  6. Thanks for the list! I’m a fan of doing things online because of time constraints and shyness, too. XD

    Another good one is Writing.com – I’ve been a part of that group for about a year, and the people there have always been respectful and helpful. Can’t wait to check out these others.

    • Hiya B.!

      I have to giggle at us busy, shy people! It makes me wonder what our type did before the Internet!?!

      Yay, thanks for helping add to the list. I love learning about new groups/sites, so I will definitely check that one out.

      Thanks for a helpful comment!

  7. Thanks for the links! I have been thinking about beta readers and crit partners, so this is quite useful 🙂

Limebird Writers Love To Peck At Comments! :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: