Skip to main content

7 Reasons Why You Should Be in a Writing Group: Guest Post by Bruce Niedt

Please welcome our very own Bruce W. Niedt as a guest blogger today. Bruce is a beneficent bureaucrat and New Jersey native whose poetry has appeared in dozens of online and print journals, including Writers' Journal, The Lyric, US 1 Worksheets, Mad Poets Review, Journal of New Jersey Poets, Schuyllkill Valley Journal, Tilt-a-Whirl, and The Wolf (UK). His awards include the ByLine Short Fiction and Poetry Prize, first prize for poetry at the Philadelphia Writers Conference, and a Pushcart Prize nomination. His latest chapbook is Breathing Out, available from Finishing Line Press via Amazon.com. As many of you probably already know, Bruce is also an active member of the Poetic Asides community.

Image placeholder title

*****

Since I rediscovered my love of writing poetry about 12 years ago, I've been in a number of poetry groups. Some are poetry "circles" or "communities" whose primary focus is more sharing than critique. They have their benefits, but it wasn't until I joined a writing and critique group that I really began to grow as a poet. Currently I'm a member of the Quick and Dirty Poets, a small but active group in southern New Jersey. We hold monthly meetings to share news and critique each others' work, publish an annual journal (Up and Under: The QND Review), and host monthly readings at a local coffee shop.

Why should you join a poetry writing group? I can think of at least seven reasons:

  1. Evaluation: A good writing group offers frank and constructive critique within a positive framework. Our group critiques one poem from each member at every meeting.
  2. Inspiration: Group members can be a source for ideas, or offer writing assignments and prompts. Friendly competition with others can motivate and inspire you to become a better writer.
  3. Education: You can learn a lot from other poets--whom they have read, how they write, and what they write about. One of our group members is an excellent formal poet and editor of a formal poetry journal. She is often our "go-to" person for questions and advice on writing in form.
  4. Information: Getting tips and information from fellow members on publications, contests, conferences, workshops, and academic programs is one of the most valuable perks of a writing group.
  5. Publication: I'm lucky to be in a group that includes two poetry journal editors and a chapbook publisher. But any poetry writing group can encourage working toward publication with advice from more experienced and successful members. Some groups, including mine, even publish their own journal or anthology.
  6. Promotion: A writing group can help you promote your work. Our group's monthly reading series exposes the community to accomplished local and regional poets, but we also use it as a venue to read our own work and offer an open mic to other attendees. The readings are also an opportunity to promote the featured poet's publications as well as our own books and journals.
  7. Socialization: One of the most rewarding benefits is the joy of sharing, collaborating, and forming friendships with fellow poets. Our merry band has attended conferences and festivals together, but we've also socialized outside the poetic milieu at parties, barbecues and camp outs. They say writing is a solitary art, but there's nothing like hanging out with your artistic buddies.

How do you find a poetry writing group? Contact your local library or bookstore--many of them host such activities. Check out the arts section of your local newspaper for announcements on readings and meetings. Your local college or university may have writing programs open to the public. And of course there's always the Internet. Or start your own group--all you need is two or more interested poetic friends and a place to meet.

*****

If you're interested in contributing a guest post for Poetic Asides, click here to see how to get the ball rolling.

*****

Image placeholder title

Want to learn even more about finding the right writing community?
Check out this digital excerpt from the Writer's Market Companion, by Joe Feiertag and Mary Carmen Cupito. Find out about various organizations and critique groups available to writers and choose the best place for your needs.

Click to continue.

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

Short story writing can be a gateway to writing your novel—but they’re also fun and worthy stories in their own right. Here, author Dallas Woodburn shares 5 ways to use short stories to grow as a writer.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not having an online presence.

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Physician, cartoonist, and author Shirlene Obuobi discusses the writerly advice that led to writing her new coming-of-age novel, On Rotation.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Kimo Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the kimo.

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

Tattoos and their artists can reveal interesting details about your characters and offer historical context. Here, author June Gervais shares 8 things writers should know about tattoos.

Tyler Moss | Reporting Through Lens of Social Justice

Writing Through the Lens of Social Justice

WD Editor-at-Large Tyler Moss makes the case for reporting on issues of social justice in freelance writing—no matter the topic in this article from the July/August 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Intentional Trail

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Intentional Trail

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character leave clues for people to find them.

Sharon Maas: On Books Finding the Right Time

Sharon Maas: On Books Finding the Right Time

Author Sharon Maas discusses the 20-year process of writing and publishing her new historical fiction novel, The Girl from Jonestown.

6 Steps to Becoming a Good Literary Citizen

6 Steps to Becoming a Good Literary Citizen

While the writing process may be an independent venture, the literary community at large is full of writers who need and want your support as much as you need and want theirs. Here, author Aileen Weintraub shares 6 steps in becoming a good literary citizen.