Though being a writer is awesome it can also sometimes be… lonely! I’ve found that the best way to stay on track, to overcome writer’s block and to stay encouraged is to get some like-minded writers to support you. Below is a list of my groups and a little bit about how you can go about finding a similar groups for yourself.
First off: my fantastic WRITER’S GROUP! (Click on their websites and see what they’re up to!)
How does one find a writer’s group, you ask? When faced with the same question a few years ago, I decided to form my own. I found a class at Grub Street (a fantastic nonprofit for writers in Boston) aimed at children’s lit. In addition to having helpful content, it also contained people, in my genre, who could give insightful critique and who could take insightful critique without getting defensive. We expanded by advertising on the NESCBWI boards and membership has fluctuated since then, augmented by people met at writing classes & SCBWI conferences. We capped the group at 6 (MG and YA authors, but no other genres/ages) and have found that to be a really good number since we meet every other week. It means that you get one check-in, and one deep critique a month and that you only have a max of 60 pages of manuscript to read & critique in a week. They have problem-solved plotting and characterization difficulties, helped me find my agent, supported me when I was ready to despair, and cheered on my successes. You guys are the best!
Second: NESCBWI. The New England branch of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators is the professional association for people like me. I cannot say enough how helpful it has been for me to join this group. Joining does cost money, but it is a mark of professionalism to include this in your query letters and it allows you access to their information-packed website, gives you a subscription to their eminently helpful magazine, and allows you to attend their wonderful conferences. Go. Join.
My most recent groups are The Lucky 13s and The Class of 2k13. These are both year-of-publication-based debut MG/YA author mutual-support groups. We have proboard forums where we talk off-record about our concerns during various stages of the process and we support each other in marketing through Twitter and our personal blogs. As soon as you get a contract that has a year attached to it, I highly suggest you go find your “classmates” and plug into the community.
Hope this helps you think of places you too could find support. Remember: email me, tweet me, comment here– I’m happy to be a part of your group too. 🙂