You Asked: How to Start an Online Writers Group?

Welcome to another, belated, You Asked, the Experts Answer, segment. This week’s question: How do you start an online writer’s group?

I’ve been a member of the South Carolina’s Writer’s Group, which met monthly at our local library, but haven’t participated in an online group before and I’ve certainly never thought about starting one – until now. So, what does it take to start a group?

Where to Begin:

  1. Establish your goals -What do you want to offer or accomplish with your members? Is the group a support network, forum for learning, an opportunity to share, or provide critiques of each other’s work?
  2. Determine membership -Is the membership voluntary or fee based? Is it open to experienced, emerging, or writers at all levels? Will membership be limited or open to all?
  3. Member participation –  How will you recruit or encourage member participation? Offer live or Twitter chats, tutorials, or run contest? Do you want to require weekly or monthly check-ins and forum discussions or leave it up to the member?
  4.  Identify the Roles of the Host(s)– Is this your brainchild or a joint venture. If a joint venture, designate responsibilities up front- maintaining membership rosters and participation, as well as, administrative duties and who will address technical issues that might arise.
  5. Create a venue – A private blog through WordPress or Blogger is an easy way for members to ask questions or hold discussions. Private forums on Google Groups and Yahoo Groups is another option. These are particularly useful when sharing files.
  6. Dedicate the Time – This is a biggy. It takes a lot of time to build members and relationships. A good place to start is to have each member introduce themselves, including their level of experience as a writer, and what they hope to gain from the group.

Understand an online group requires commitment and continuous engagement. Setting weekly goals or making a to-do list will help you keep on task. Establishing a regular schedule and dedicating time specifically for the group will create the right environment for a successful online group. Interested in more information?

Check Out These Resources:

What about you? Do you belong to an online writer’s group? Have you found it helpful? Interesting is starting a group?  I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story and look for me on Facebook at SheilaMGood,  PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgood, Contently, and Instagram.