Struggling to meet writing goals? It might be a time to consider a writing group, advises Knowledge Retreat expert, Milla Titova.
What is a writing group?
A writing group usually consists of a group of people who get together to write during regularly scheduled times. This could be a group of colleagues, people finding each other through a professional organization, or even a group of strangers you might have met through #AcademicTwitter.
How to start your own writing group
Given that video conferencing is so ubiquitous today, such groups are very easy to organize. All you need to do is to have a scheduled time when your group will meet online, join the meeting, and start writing. It also helps to have a small check-in with the members of the group, scheduled social breaks, and some parting words between the members. However, the majority of time is just set aside for writing (with cameras and sound off).
What are the benefits of writing groups?
While fairly easy to execute, a writing group can be beneficial in many ways including helping with accountability and community building.
While some of us might be great at setting a time aside for writing or maybe even putting it on our calendars, others need a little nudge to stay accountable. A writing group could be that nudge! When you schedule a meeting that involves other people, it’s much harder for us to convince ourselves to use that time for something else. We don’t want to let other people down by not showing up. We also might be motivated by the social aspect of the group and be looking forward to seeing other people.
Speaking of social time, writing groups could be a great way to build community and connect with others. Even a brief chat at the beginning of a writing session can do a lot for our relationships with other people. And the sense that you are not alone in your writing pursuits also really helps!
Humans are social creatures, so any time we can increase our sense of connectedness and belonging to others, we are happier and more fulfilled.
If you haven’t yet tried joining or forming your own writing group, I hope you will give it a try!
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Milla Titova is a faculty member of the Psychology Department at the University of Washington.