Written by A Guest Author October 12th, 2017

Find Your People: How to Start a Writer’s Society

By Lindsay Redifer

One of the best decisions I made this year was to seek out fellow writers in my community and bring them together into a little society. I love to write alone all day, but I love to exchange ideas and energies, too. The solitude broke me and I formed my little group of like minded writers and I could not be happier with my decision.

  1. Hunt and gather

Before you go through the work of organizing and inspiring those around you, make sure there’s not already someone else who’s taken the lead and hoping for your support. Ask around, check online and put the word out that you’re looking for fellow writers. You might get lucky and find a group who needs new, enthusiastic people to reinvigorate the group and bring in a fresh perspective.

  1. Bend the internet to your will

There are some great places to meet and organize the people around you. Meetup is a great site that, while not free, specializes in getting individuals together at a specific place and time. They also help you promote your group through Twitter and Facebook, to help you spread the word. If you’re in a new city or a community that doesn’t offer a lot for writers, this a great tool.

Facebook can work as well if you prefer to use a free and more common platform. The pitfall here is that it can be a little more difficult to get the group off your group wall and into a cafe or bar for a meeting.

My own group came together with the help of Meetup, which was both wonderful and frustrating. The frustration came with the number of people who took up spots in my group with no intention of attending meetings. I quickly saw that it’s simply a part of forming a group via the web and just told myself to breathe deep and focus on the people who really wanted to attend.

  1. Find your sanctuary

A group of writers can be a tricky thing to house. You want a space that’s in public with food and drinks, not too noisy or too busy and offers decent coffee. Smokers will need some outdoor space, and everyone will want a good Wi-Fi connection.

My own group meets at a small cafe with some food on offer. My original plan was to use the private room in the cafe, but I changed my mind when the venue told me we’d have to pay extra for the space. Instead of asking my members for money, I moved the group up to the second floor to take advantage of a less popular space. It’s cozier, and we’re closer to the bathroom. Also, we don’t get interrupted by the staff more than once or twice.

Once your group has a space to meet in and starts to fill it with their ideas, the group can start to take shape.

  1. Hand down some proclamations

Now comes the hard part; you have to decide what direction your group is going in and how to get there. What’s your overall goal? Do you want to be each others beta readers? Write an online magazine together? Pool resources so that you can all find better ways to pitch and publications to pitch to or just encourage and push one another as you develop as writers?

My crew wanted more help with skill development and responded really well to a quick little workshop I put together. The new approach brought in more people and generated a lot of excitement. It turned out my group needed a place to analyze their ideas more than they needed to see their names next to a published piece.

  1. Don’t fail your people

After you find your ideal time, place and direction, the best thing you can do is be consistent. Even when you show up and no one else does, just schedule the next meeting and keep going. Show the people who’ve signed up that they can depend on you, no matter what. Once you demonstrate your own loyalty and leadership, you’ll inspire your members to stick with it.

Another smart move is to communicate with your group a few times a week, between meetings. Share writing contests, quotes from great authors, places to publish, anything at all that you think your group will appreciate and can use to its benefit.

Bio: Lindsay Redifer is an American writer located in Guadalajara, Mexico where she works as a freelance writer and hangs out with her dog. She transitioned to writing full time two years ago, leaving behind her position as a teacher. She has been published in the short story collection Everything Change. 


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