The creator of Story Planner has launched a new site called WriterLink, aimed at helping writers create groups based around shared aims and interests.
Writing can be a lonely business, and there are huge benefits to forming writing groups with other writers.
There are many styles of writing groups, but these three are the most common.
Social groups: Writing groups can be entirely social, so like-minded writers chat about their work-in-progress and help each other through the ups and downs of the writing journey.
Workshop groups: Many writing groups help writers improve their creative skills. Writers get together and use exercises, perhaps based around themes such as character or dialogue. These exercises help writers practise the craft of writing.
Feedback groups: Many writers wonder, ‘Is my work any good?’ Feedback or critique groups are a great way to share stories or chapters in a friendly, sympathetic, space.
In a feedback or critique group, the other writers will share tips for improvement which invariably leads to a stronger second draft. It’s always a confidence boost to hear a novel is on the right track, and most feedback groups will ensure there is praise as well as constructive criticism. Beta readers will help writers correct any story weaknesses before submitting to an agent or publishing a book.
WriterLink helps writers link up to form these groups and offers useful tools to make things easier for any new writing group organiser.
Seven years ago, I set up my own writing group but struggled to find members. It’s now going strong and thriving at WriterLink.
I initially set the group up on Meetup.com, but it’s not a site designed for writers, and what’s more, it charges $16.49 a month. WriterLink is free, and always will be for anyone who wants to set up a writing group for their community.
The site does charge businesses, such as writing courses to use the site, but it has a simple pricing policy aimed at making it easy to create a writing community and helping regular writers get together to make new friends.
Here’s some of the tools WriterLink offers writing groups.
How WriterLink can help social writing groups:
As a group organiser you might want to use chat forums. If so WriterLink has the option to add a forum to a writing group’s home page.
You can also add a forum to event pages, allowing you to discuss details of a forthcoming meeting for example.
There is also the option to send messages to group members, and you can automate reminders about your next meeting.
The site uses ‘tags’ so friendship groups can easily be formed around shared interests.
For example, if you’re looking for new writer friends working on a more niche genre (such as vampire stories) you could tag a group “vampires” and find writers who share the same interest.
You can set a group to be “public” when seeking new members, or “private” when enough friends have been found.
How WriterLink helps feedback and critique writing groups:
If you want to discuss and give notes on stories, chapters, or poems, you can create an event page that lets members upload their written work.
The page will be completely secure, so the work can only be accessed by the group members.
You might want to discuss the submissions in a live or online meeting, or you could use the member-only forum to write notes on the work.
WriterLink’s reminder feature is handy for anyone organising a feedback group. You can set a reminder for a week before the meeting to remind members to upload their chapters for others to read.
How WriterLink helps workshop style writing groups:
It can be quite daunting setting up a group about practising writing skills, but any writer can set one up.
WriterLink offers free writing group exercises to download. Groups can choose a theme to practise and find exercises to try. For example, you might want to look at character or story structure. Simply choose an exercise and discuss the theme.
Talking about a writing concept can be especially useful and writers can chat about the authors who demonstrate these concepts well.
A workshop style meeting can also be used for writers to write together. You might set up a meeting on WriterLink with Zoom and invite other writers to join a quiet, productive, writing session.
You can set up a traditional group, meeting in a cafe or community venue. You could even set up a group based online at WriterLink, using the group discussion forums and messaging.
If you’ve never organised a writing group before we urge you to give it a go. It’s a good feeling to be responsible for the creation of a new group, and your group members will almost certainly be sympathetic to any nerves and keen to help!
The WriterLink site is brand new so it’s gradually getting busier. But there are more and more groups available, including a group for StoryPlanner members. The site is free and easy to use, so why not check the site out and become one of the founding members?
We hope you’ll try WriterLink and find some creative new friends to share your writing journey.