Writing Group Failure

Years ago, I addressed my repeated failures at finding/forming a writers' group.
I've tried twice, since then, to find one.

The first attempt was at an online writing conference.  How could I go wrong with that?  A bunch of like-minded people, talking shop, interested in the same workshops were right there for the asking... and so I did.  Two people from the poetry workshop wanted to form a group!  I was thrilled.  Within a couple of email exchanges, though, one person bowed out.  The other and I kept in contact until her life became too busy and then she drifted away, as well.  I would periodically email her with her replies becoming shorter, then nonexistent.  From exhilaration to disappointment was about a month's worth of time.

Recently, I put out ads on my local garage sale sites.  I figured I may as well try to start things at a local level.  One person got back to me.  No others.  My county isn't THAT small.  Within a few messages exchanged he, too, stopped replying to me.  I've sent him two more messages since, but don't want to push anything.

Why do people tell me they want to be in a group when they don't?

I've really been wanting to start a website (complete with forums) for disabled writers.  Because of all the bad luck I have with starting groups, however, I'm more than a little hesitant to launch a project, especially since it would cost money.

Have you had luck with writers' groups?  Do you currently belong to any?


  1. I think people tend to be flaky, for sure. Back in the 90s, I realized there was no romance writers group in Nashville when there was in many places. I put an ad in the paper and people responded--from that, Music City Romance Writers (nashville chapter of RWA) was born. Have you tried MeetUp.com? There may be a group already out there--there are quite a few writing groups in Nashville, I know.

    1. There is only one group for my town on meetup.com and it isn't even a writing group. I guess very few people use it where I live...

      I have considered putting out ads. I'm hesitant with that because of the possibility of pranks and publishing certain information.

  2. The only writers group that I've ever belonged to disbanded last year. I had been a member for a couple of years. It was a long standing group in which when I joined I was the youngest member and I was 62 at that time! Gives you an idea about where this group was coming from. Very set in their thinking is my reaction.

    Just yesterday I was perusing Meetup.com to see what groups were in my area. As you might expect for Los Angeles there are many many. I don't know if I'll get involved in one. It's nice to have the relationships with other writers, but my experience so far was very superficial and not especially helpful.

    Good luck with your search. It's difficult to find people with compatibility and a sense of commitment.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    1. If I manage to cobble one together, compatibility will be utterly miraculous! With so few interested people on the outset, I'll probably end up taking what I can get.

      I desire a group that's supportive, but also critiques. If the people who respond haven't attended a group before, what's the likelihood they're going to know how to give/receive critique? Not great...

  3. I'm in a longstanding novel writers critique group. I've been with them for nearly eight years, and a few of them were in an earlier iteration before that. The membership has changed over the years, and I think that is part of what makes it work--we have kicked people out, and people have decided to leave. We lay out the expectations as clearly as we can at the outset with any new members.

    Before them, I was with a group in Kentucky that worked a little less well--I think because it was "writers" rather than all one kind of writer. It meant that we had a playwright, a poet, a novelist, an essayist, a short story writer. Interesting group of people, but less understanding of each other's chosen forms.

    I also think there's a critical mass--we're at eight members right now. That means that we go forward with our regular meeting even if some of us cannot attend. When we've gotten as small as five members, we sought new ones, because if the numbers are too small than one person's absence makes the meeting untenable.

    Have you tried Meet Up or Gather or any of those sorts of places?

    1. I haven't tried Gather but if MeetUp is more popular and I haven't had luck with that...

      I want poets, primarily. I agree with the presenting difficulty of having different types of writers in a group. Besides, poetry is much shorter in form than novel selections so some people would have more of the group's attention, and that's not fair.

      I've thought a lot about the rules, mainly that I don't want political or religious affiliations to sunder the group. I'm unsure if that means we critique a piece that may offend from a craft angle only. Or if poems on touchy subjects can't be presented for feedback.