June 28, 2017 by Valerie Ullmer
How I Learned to Write – June 28th, 2018
Writing and Critique Groups – Finding Support for your Writing
After you have researched how to write, story structure, characterization, and writing in your chosen genre (among many, many other writing subjects that are out there), you will probably feel overwhelmed at where to start and who to ask for advice. Well if your just learning how to write and you’re feeling this way, you’re ahead of the curve. I wrote my first book (which I still don’t like to talk about), and struggled with the second, before I found an online critique group that has helped me out tremendously.
I found my first critique group by looking at Yahoo! Groups and searched romance writers. You will have to join the group and you might need to answer some questions about what your goals are and other questions, but just know that writing groups are essential to your growth as a writer. I would suggest that you join groups that interest you and that are supportive of your work. If people are negative, only telling you what’s wrong with your writing instead of giving constructive criticism, you should find another group. The entire point of critique and writers groups is to give you support.
The support of others who are going through the same journey or have been on the same journey as you are, is important. They have experience that you might not have, and you have some experience that you can share with others that are just starting out. And when you join these groups, participate as much as possible to get the most out of them.
Here are a few places to search:
Yahoo! Groups (Search your genre and writers/authors): https://groups.yahoo.com/
The Write Life (40 Places to find a Critique Group): http://thewritelife.com/find-a-critique-partner/#.qdmhok:ZTws
Ladies Who Critque: https://www.ladieswhocritique.com/
Blog and Social Media
When you join a writers group, even if you haven’t thought about publishing your first book yet, you should set up a blog that will display your books and a blog where you can express your thoughts on writing. And the other reason is to feature other writers and get them, as well as yourself, exposure, all for free.
To be honest, I understand how it sounds. Hosting another author and their book on your blog will help you get discovered? Well, yes, in a way.
You will discover as a writer, that we are always looking for promotion, and the quickest way to get it and reach hundreds of people who might one day read your book is to host another author on your blog. Word of mouth his a powerful way to reach readers, and there is nothing better than free promotion. If you set up your blog, join several writers groups, and say yes to any calls for blog spots for writers who want to feature their work, you will reach readers by having them come to your site for the blog post, but stick around and search your website for other books that might interest them.
And the beautiful part is that other authors will offer to host your release, sale, or other blog post as well. That way, you don’t only expose people to your own blog, other authors, who might have a larger following, will host you, along with all the links that come along with a blog post, and you might get new readers because of it.
The key to success as a writer is to have as many people exposed to your work as possible, and nothing can be more effective than another author.
When I first searched for a web hosting company, I got advice from several authors, including Joanna Penn and her site The Creative Penn: https://www.thecreativepenn.com/ and Jane Friedman https://janefriedman.com/ . They both recommended a service call BlueHost, a web hosting site. BlueHost, will walk you through everything that you need to know about your site, and it has excellent tech support if you ever run into problems. BlueHost, allows you to setup a WordPress blog and let’s you create a site specific e-mail address. I found that WordPress had everything I needed and for the past year or so, I’ve had no complaints. Other authors prefer BlogSpot. But it’s your decision.
And when it comes to social media, I would recommend you set up all social media sites that indicate that you are an author. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Triberr, Pronoun, and anything else you can think of, and setup your blog posts to upload automatically to these sites.
It is important to spread the word about your work and the work of other authors. It is a pipe dream to believe that you can write a great book that a few people love and then you’re going to be an instant success. Being a writer takes effort, but with the support of a great writer’s group and other authors, you will be on your way to having your work gain exposure and gain some friends who love writing as much as you do.