Should You Join A Writing Group?  The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Good vibes oNly- mark Adriane- unsplash

Do you feel the need for feedback on your writing or validation? Or perhaps you are sick of struggling on alone, and fed up with your own company and isolation?

Maybe you have hit the creative wall and need a boost?

Desperate to know more about writing and you sense that you are boring your family with your work?

A writing group could be the answer BUT not all writing groups are the same.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

As I have been a member of each of this type of group at some time, let me be your guide, without fear or favour.

The Bad

A bad group suits those in it for various reasons. 1. It may be an ego trip for a couple of the members.

The Bad2.The group may be a talkfest, and not get any writing done

3.The group may take up too much time with the committee and procedural matters.

4.One strong personality dominates, and only certain genres are permitted to be written.

5, Only approved genres are permitted to be written- no ‘nasty ‘science fiction or fantasy!

The Ugly

Some groups thrive on competitiveness and backbiting!


Petty rivalries and jealousies abound, they are cliquey and only allow certain members.

In a creative writing course.that I attended a group of three poured scorn on everyone else’s efforts. The facilitator- either did not see or ignored it.As the course lasted a semester, this was not the happiest or friendliest of groups. Unfortunately, it was obligatory for me to attend.

There is no need for you to suffer this kind of treatment if you don’t have to.

Nourish your own ego in a healthy way and walk away

Egos can get bruised, by criticism whether tactfully phrased or not. At one group a disgruntled member sent poison pen letter and serious threats were made!

What Makes A Good Writing Group?

    1.Leadership is inclusive and encouraging

CUte Angel All members are free to participate in the group’s activities and no one member can dominate.

2.Writing prompts are set which may slightly challenge the group. So, in one meeting the focus may be on metaphor usage, while the next time it could be on dialogue or pacing.

3, Writers are encouraged to write in their own individual way. The unique ‘voice’of each writer is preserved.

4, Feedback is provided on shorter pieces, if requested. This can be content, word choice and usage, with suggestions to make the piece stronger.

5.They have an interest in all aspects of writing and members attend author talks, writing festivals and events.

Editing is not within the scope of most groups Although from time to time a new member will bring in a manuscript which they hope to have edited quickly and for free. Editing is professional skill and is usually charge accordingly.

The next post will focus on how to assess a writing group’s suitability for your needs.

What has been your experience with writing groups?


Author: soniabellhouse

Sonia Bellhouse is the author of Fire & Ice, a Scandi-timeslip romance about ice dancing, Norway and Vikings. She is also a contributor to Passages, a short story anthology and a contributor to Writing the Dream, an anthology for published writers both published by Serenity Press. In 2012she won two major awards in the inaugural Rockingham Short Fiction contest. Sonia's articles and stories are published in various magazines both in Australia and the UK. These include Good reading, Today's Bride, That's Life! and That's Life! Fast Fiction in Australia and Yours, The People's Friend and Best of British in the Uk. Sonia worked as a book reviewer for two years. An avid reader and writer of multiple genres she facilitated a local book club for eleven years. She reluctantly decided to give it up, to concentrate on her writing. Sonia is a long time member of a writers group, regularly engaging authors to present workshops to the group. Sonia enjoys catching up with friends, ignoring the ironing in favour of playing with her cat and learning new things. She's taken several online courses with Future Learn and The University of Iowa for both writing and non-writing topics.

9 thoughts on “Should You Join A Writing Group?  The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”

  1. In all Walks of life we meet different people with various living ways. Some ways are so poisonous that you just have to know how to deal with it, either stay quiet, and leave. I don’t even observe such manners, they are too toxic. But like the saying goes, there are still some good people out there, though it takes many years, we do meet what we deserve in the name of good one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree- it took me a long time to realise that it is okay to walk away . To nouish myself and let the others do what they do.Currently, I am very happy with the writing group that I am in, we seem to have weatherd a few storms and retained the good people.

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  2. Reblogged this on My Country Epoque and commented:
    To all my followers, writers, authors, poets, readers, lovers of books, I am introducing Sonia Bellhouse to you and sharing one of her post to my page so that you can all get acquainted to her and perhaps you will or may want to follow her and keep reading and following her writings. Thank you for reading and getting to know her. Juli!


  3. I was a member of a writing group for 5 years, and I guess I was lucky because we were well led and had none of the challenges you mentioned. It is a wonderful way to get necessary feedback and to learn the craft. The biggest problem we had was we all became friends and sometimes it was hard to stay on track! 🙂

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    1. A good writing group is a gem. At times goups can get too ‘cosy’ and then it is hard to be objective when critiquing.At that point its wise to look for outside sources for critquing such as online gorups or other writers who are not part of your group

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Maybe another group would be helpful to you at this stage – Some groups remain static- my next post will be about how a good group should evolve to suit its membership. We never stop learning our carft

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