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Got Writer's Block? Get Help from your Writer's Group

January 27, 2015

Got Writer's Block? Get Help from your Writer's Group

Are you a freelance writer, an aspiring novelist, a published poet? You may have found that writing (for you) is not a solitary art form. You may crave the interaction of other writers to get the old juices flowing and break you out of writer's block. Or maybe you’ve found that having a deadline compels you to write more.

This is why many creative writers start or look for opportunities to join a writing group. Writing groups can provide you with much-needed connection, inspiration, feedback on your writing, support for those oh-so-painful rejections, and encouragement to keep going when you want to throw in the towel.

Although most writing groups begin with fingers-to-keyboard enthusiastic members, some fold within the first few meetings. Why? Many reasons. Maybe the group hasn’t set clear goals and member expectations. Perhaps there is a conflict of personalities. It could be that not all members have the same level of commitment. Or it could simply be that no one is handling the necessary group organization and unavoidable logistics. Sound familiar?

Some people often joke that managing creative talent such as writers is like “herding cats.” So if you’re a writer yourself and tried to form a writers’ group and failed, you might figure — why try again?

We’ve seen many successful writers’ groups. They get writers to commit to a group long-term when it’s easy for them to participate. Successful writing groups generally have two things in common: structure and a coordinator. Someone who keeps the group organized and following a regular format. He (or she) circulates manuscripts and critique materials, keeps the group calendar, sends reminders of who needs to submit pieces and when, maintains the group contact list, makes sure everyone knows where to meet, and coordinates group activities. These logistics are essential for the groups’ success — and can be very time-consuming.

Check out The Jack London Writers Circle

Back in college, James got hooked by Jack London’s wilderness adventures and was inspired to start writing short stories. Years later, he realized he had collected a motley crew of folks who enjoyed creative writing as much as he did. They decided to meet twice a month and help each other improve their writing. Dubbed “The Jack London Writers Circle” the group became intent about making a living from their creative writing — short stories, novels, novellas, screenplays. Not a group to fall behind the times, they even branched out into doing video shorts!

As the group’s defacto leader, James found himself managing all communications and logistics. After all these years, as much as he loves the group, managing it has eaten substantially into his writing time. He wanted to find an easy way to share the load with the other members.

A friend suggested he check out Samepage. James enlisted one of the other members, Ann, and the two of them tried out Samepage together one evening. They were astonished that in less than an hour they had the Circle’s pages set up. Ann found it so fun and easy that she agreed to take some of the work off James. She’s now managing the Circle’s membership list, editing and sending out the newsletter, and handling all meeting logistics. That left James with setting the meeting agendas, chasing members for guest speakers, and facilitating critiques.

With Samepage now the central location for the Circle, it’s become easy-peasy for members to find what they need without emailing James constantly for info and help. What’s even better — now everyone has a place to upload work (Samepage accepts all kinds of files, including video), ask for critiques, and give and get help. They no longer have to wait for their meetings!

All the members are delighted. They find it a breeze to contribute and help each other without cluttering up their email or wasting valuable meeting time. Online discussions have become very lively. And the Circle’s meetings now focus on what they care about most — hearing from writing experts.

With Samepage the centerpiece of The Jack London Circle, there’s nothing to stop James from writing his way into our hearts.

Sound interesting? Learn more about Samepage here.