Writing Tip #4: Join a Writing Group

I joined my first writing group when I was pregnant with my son Adam. (He’s now 31). Two women in the group had published books. It surprised me that they didn’t walk around with their noses in the air. It surprised me that they wanted to help other writers by sharing their expertise and experience. They tore the first thing I wrote to shreds, but over the next few days a couple in the group called to say they hoped I wasn’t giving up. My husband Omar told me I had a knack for writing dialogue. Just that small affirmation gave me the confidence to rewrite and go forward. I’m still in a writing group. I need feedback. I need to give feedback, to see what my fellow writers do well and where they can do better.

I just finished pre-judging 53 entries (up to 3 page synopsis plus the first 20 pages) for the SouthWest Writers contest. It frustrated me that I couldn’t write on the pages to point out a terrific image or turn of phrase. I couldn’t ask a question to guide the writer to more clarity. We all need feedback.

Join a writing group. If you don’t have any other writers in your area, join a group online. Hire a critiquer.


About Penny

Penny Durant is the award-winning author of CHILD OF EL SALVADOR, narrative nonfiction set in the late 1980s in civil war-torn El Salvador and New Mexico. She has also published nine childrens books, and is a frequent workshop provider, novel writing teacher, editor, and critiquer. She has written two adult novels, "true life stories." Two of her pieces have been put to music by composer Michael Mauldin and performed in the region.
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