Writers’ groups near me: How to find them?

Embarking on the journey of writing can be a solitary experience, and many writers may wonder how to find ‘Writers’ groups near me?’ Writers’ groups offer many advantages and serve as hubs for inspiration, motivation, and skill development. From local libraries to the virtual world of Meetup.com, this article explores how to discover your local writers’ groups. However, if the local options fail you, this article will also explain how to search for writing groups online, including Facebook, Reddit and other writing communities. If you feel online groups are not suitable for you, you could try to set up your own group. Read on to find out how to do it.

What are the benefits of joining a writers’ group?

Joining a writers’ group can offer numerous benefits for writers at various stages of their careers. Here are some advantages:

Feedback and critique

Writers’ groups provide a platform for receiving constructive feedback on your work, which can help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your writing, allowing for improvement. Furthermore, exposure to different perspectives and writing styles can broaden your understanding of storytelling techniques.

Motivation and accountability

Being part of a writers’ group can motivate you to stay committed to your writing goals. Regular meetings and discussions can create a supportive environment that encourages you to keep writing, even when faced with challenges. Moreover, knowing that others are expecting your work can help keep you accountable. For instance, some writing groups may set deadlines for submitting work or completing specific writing goals. This structure can help you stay focused and productive in your writing endeavours. 

Networking opportunities

Writers’ groups often consist of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences in the writing world. Networking with fellow writers can lead to valuable connections, collaborations, and opportunities. Likewise, you may also gain insights into the publishing industry, writing contests, and other relevant events.

Skill development

Engaging with other writers allows you to learn from their experiences and insights, which can contribute to your overall skill development as a writer. Additionally, workshops and discussions within the group may focus on specific writing techniques, genres or aspects of the craft, helping you refine your skills.

Inspiration and creativity

Interacting with other creative individuals can spark new ideas and inspire your own creativity. Authors’ groups can be a source of inspiration when facing a creative block. In addition, exposure to different genres and writing styles can encourage experimentation and the exploration of new writing territories. In other words, writers’ groups often include members with diverse interests and expertise. Thus, exposure to different genres and writing styles can broaden your horizons and inspire you to explore new avenues in your own work.

Emotional support

Writing can be a solitary process, and the emotional support of a writers’ group can be invaluable. Fellow writers understand the challenges and triumphs of the creative process, offering empathy and encouragement. Therefore, sharing your writing journey with others who are facing similar struggles can create a sense of camaraderie.

What help writing groups usually do not offer? 

While joining a writers’ group can offer many benefits, there are some limitations to the help that these groups can provide. Although writers’ groups may offer feedback and critique on your work, they are usually not equipped to provide the same level of editing that a professional editor can offer. This is because editing is a specialised skill that requires a deep understanding of language and grammar and years of training. 

Furthermore, professional editors bring a fresh perspective to a piece of writing that can be difficult to achieve within a writers’ group. Professional editors can also provide objective feedback, which can be particularly valuable for writers who are too close to their work to see its flaws. 

Professional editing services include proofreading, copyediting, line editing and developmental editing. Proofreading is the final step in the editing process and involves checking a document for errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling and formatting. Thus, a proofreader ensures that a document is free from errors and is ready for publication. 

Copyediting checks a document for errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling and formatting but also focuses on the clarity and readability of the writing. In addition, a copyeditor may suggest changes to sentence structure or word choice to improve the flow and coherence of the writing. 

Line editing may suggest changes to sentence structure, word choice and even the overall structure of the document to help improve its impact and readability. 

Finally, developmental editing is the most extensive type of editing and focuses on the overall structure and content of a document. A developmental editor works with the writer to help them develop and refine their ideas and ensure that the document is well-organised, engaging and coherent.

How do I find writers’ groups near me?

Undoubtedly, joining an authors’ group has many benefits. However, if you are struggling to find a group in your local community, here are some ideas:

Check local libraries

Local libraries are often treasure troves for writers, offering networking opportunities, support groups and promotional events. For instance, some may have already established writers’ groups that meet regularly to read and critique each other’s work and share writing resources. These groups are usually self-directed and rely on the active involvement of the participants. So, if you are asking yourself ‘How to find a writers’ group near me?’ start with the library in your area. 

Writing group at the Austin Public Library in Austin, TX
Writing group at the Austin Public Library in Austin, TX. Source: library.austintexas.gov

Check local community centres

Like libraries, local community centres may hold writing events and groups. Check their schedule to find out when a writers’ group near you is meeting next. Furthermore, just like the writers’ groups meeting at the public libraries, the authors’ groups at the community centres are usually free to join and self-directed.

Writers’ group at False Creek Community Centre in Vancouver, Canada.
Writers’ group at False Creek Community Centre in Vancouver, Canada. Source: falsecreekcc.ca

Check writers’ organisations

There are so many writers’ organisations at the local, national or even international level. These associations support their members in many ways, from sponsorship through guidance and advice to workshops and knowledge-sharing. Contact them to get information on the existing writing networks in your area and, specifically, when and where their local chapters meet. Here are some associations for writers that operate internationally, in the US, UK and Canada:

Check local Meetups

Meetup can be a good option for finding a writing group if you are an author. Meetup is a popular platform that connects people with similar interests, including writers and authors looking for supportive communities.

As of December 2023, there are over 2,700 writing groups on Meetup with nearly 2 million members. Meetup.com hosts various groups catering to different writing genres, styles, and preferences. This diversity allows you to find a group that aligns with your interests and goals as an author. Moreover, Meetup.com allows you to use search filters to narrow your options based on location, writing genre, meeting frequency, and other criteria. This makes it easier to find a writing group that suits your needs.

Additionally, the platform is transparent and provides detailed event listings, including information about upcoming meetings, the group’s focus and any specific requirements.
Further, Meetup.com includes member reviews and ratings for groups. Reading these reviews can give you insights into the dynamics of the group, the quality of feedback provided and whether it aligns with your writing goals.

Newest writing groups on Meetup.com
Newest Meetup writing groups. Source: meetup.com

What if there are no suitable writers’ groups near me?

If you struggle to find a suitable writers’ group near you, one option is to consider the online authors’ groups. There are multiple options to explore, for instance, Facebook groups and writing communities.

Join a Facebook writers’ group

Facebook has numerous groups for writers that you can join to improve your craft and meet people with similar interests. Here are some examples of the biggest Facebook groups for writers and authors:

  • 10 Minute Novelists Group is devoted to helping time-crunched writers. The group helps develop the habit of writing, learning the craft and building writer’s careers in small increments of time. Moreover, it has nearly 17,000 members.
  • Authors and Writers Helping Each Other Grow is a place to support each other’s pages, books, websites and to ask any questions you need to help you with your craft. This group has over 47,000 members.
  • Supporting Beginner Writers helps those who are just starting out on their writing journey. This group has nearly 30,000 members. 
  • Writers Helping Writers describes itself as an international, very active, friendly, peer-to-peer advice/support group. It has over 438,000 members.
  • Writers Unite! is on a mission to support and encourage writers at all levels of knowledge and experience. In addition, this group enables writers to share their writing, receive and provide constructive feedback, and answer questions posted by members related to their writing. It has over 73,000 members.
Supporting Beginner Writers Facebook group
Supporting Beginner Writers Facebook group. Source: facebook.com

Join an online writing community

If there are no suitable writers’ groups near you, join one of the online specialised groups that focus on the genre of your text or a general, larger l group. 

  • Accountabuddy Exchange helps you to find a writing partner to hold you accountable and support you during your writing journey. 
  • Camp Memoir is a writers’ group specifically dedicated to writing memoirs. 
  • Camp NaNoWriMo is a month-long collective writing challenge occurring every April and July, during which you can set your word count challenge.
  • Chronicles is a science fiction and fantasy writing community. There, you can find a variety of support and feedback on writing, such as general writing queries, discussions about agents, editors and publishers, writing resources and a section for critiques.
  • Critique Circle is free to join and claims to be one of the oldest online groups for writers, founded in 2003. Furthermore, it has apparently served nearly one million served critiques.
  • Lovers and Friends: Writing Group for Romance Writers enables accountability and community building for romance writers. Members meet weekly on Zoom, welcoming all romance subgenres. 
  • Scribophile has free and paid membership options. It claims to be one of the largest and most award-winning online writing communities.
  • Speculative Fiction Writers Association invite science fiction writers working on fiction, fantasy, horror, time travel, climate fiction/solar-punk, slipstream, steampunk, weird west, fairy tales, alternate history, dystopian/utopian or cyberpunk writers for weekly meetings on Zoom to discuss writing topics and critique each other’s work.
  • WriteWithMe is a Reddit community with 7,000 members. It offers help with finding a writing buddy or a beta reader.
  • Writing Historical Fiction group is for writers seeking active support from others who love historical fiction.

Start your own writers’ group

If the prospect of joining an online writers’ group doesn’t appeal to you, or if there are no suitable local options, why not take the initiative and start your own writers’ group? Starting your own writers’ group can be a fulfilling endeavour, fostering a supportive community of like-minded individuals dedicated to the craft of writing. Before extending invitations to local writers, establish the groundwork by considering the group’s guidelines and addressing key questions.

Define the group’s purpose

Begin by clarifying the aim or objective of your writers’ group. Are you focused on sharing inspiration, providing constructive critique, ensuring mutual accountability, or collectively achieving writing milestones? Clearly outlining the group’s purpose will help attract writers who share similar goals and interests.

Determine the group’s scope

Define the scope of your group’s meetings. Will discussions revolve solely around writing, or will they encompass other aspects such as publishing, editing, and marketing books? Communicating the scope ensures that potential members understand the group’s focus and these are aligned with their own writing aspirations.

Consider membership criteria

Establish criteria for who can join the group. Consider factors such as participants’ writing experience, preferred genres or the current stage of their writing projects. This helps create a cohesive group with members who can offer valuable insights and support to one another.

Decide on feedback mechanisms

Decide on the method of delivering feedback or critique. Will it be through in-person discussions, written reports, or marked-up text? Tailoring your feedback process to the preferences of the group ensures a constructive and supportive environment for writers to grow and improve.

Practical meeting considerations

Address the logistical details of your meetings, including:

  • Time and place: Determine a convenient time and location for your meetings.
  • Frequency: Decide on the meeting frequency, whether it’s weekly, bi-monthly or monthly.
  • Duration: Set a reasonable duration for each meeting, balancing thorough discussions with members’ time constraints.
  • Format: Define the meeting format, such as whether you’ll focus on a single text or discuss multiple pieces each time.

Invite writers to join

Once you’ve established the foundational aspects of your writers’ group, it’s time to extend invitations. Consider publishing an ad in local newspapers, placing flyers in community spaces, or leveraging online platforms like Meetup.com for a more efficient outreach. Furthermore, creating a group on Meetup.com can streamline the process, making it easier for potential members to discover your writing community.

Collaborate with writing organisations

Explore collaboration opportunities with established writing organisations. These associations for writers, mentioned earlier in this article, can offer support and assistance in promoting your initiative. They may even provide information about potential funding opportunities to sustain and enhance your writers’ group.

Final thoughts

Finding or creating a writers’ group can be a rewarding venture, enriching your writing journey with diverse perspectives and invaluable support. The benefits are many — from constructive feedback to fostering motivation and accountability. Furthermore, with networking opportunities abound, a writers’ group can connect you with like-minded individuals and open doors to collaborations and insights into the publishing world.

For those seeking local groups, explore libraries, community centres and established writing organisations. Online platforms like Meetup.com also offer a wealth of options, providing transparency through event listings and member reviews.

If traditional routes do not work for you, consider founding your writers’ group. Establish clear guidelines, including the group’s purpose, scope, and practical meeting details. Finally, do not forget to invite local writers through traditional or online means.

I am an experienced editor, working with non-fiction, academic and business books. If you need a second pair of eyes proofreading and editing your manuscript, contact me for a free sample edit (and remember to use my early bird discount).

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Magda

I am an editor, indexer and a lifelong lover of literature with a PhD in literary history. I am an Intermediate Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), a student member of the Society of Indexers and a vetted partner of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).