How to Start Your Own Writers Group

If you’re looking to build community and grow your creative writing skillset this year, consider starting your own writing group. Whether you casually meet with friends or start a more formal group in your local community, here are some tips to help you succeed in this endeavor. 


Decide: casual vs. formal


First and foremost, decide whether you’d like your writer’s group to remain as a casual, small group or if you’d prefer to build a more formal group in your local community. When making this choice, consider your personality, schedule, and goals.


Although growth in your craft requires challenging yourself, if you’re simply searching for a fun, creative outlet where you and your friends can support each other, a smaller group might be best for you. Your group can occasionally meet, create writing prompts, and give feedback to each other in a safe space. 


In contrast, a more formal group might look like recruiting members of your existing book club that meets at your local bookshop, starting a group at your university, or collaborating with your local library to hold workshops on a consistent basis.


Consider: how to recruit members


As you build your group, consider how you will recruit members. 


If you want to start a small group, but you only have one or two friends interested in writing poetry, use your online network to build your group. If you run your own poetry Instagram account, for example, reach out to folks in your community who you think might be interested in joining.


A larger, formal group, however, would likely require advertising in your local bookshop or library or creating a social media presence.


Plan: group meeting details


Once you’ve decided on the type of writing group you’d like to start, plan meeting details, including location, schedule, and member responsibilities. 


If you’ve chosen to meet casually, your group might prefer to rotate gathering locations at each friend’s home or, if you live far from one another, hang out on Zoom. Prepare by having a different member bring a pre-written prompt for each meeting, then encourage members to either free write during the meeting or create a poem that can be shared the following meeting. Maybe your group would like to work on various poetic forms or incorporate specific literary devices in your writings, for example.


On the other hand, if you want to create a formal group and have decided on a local business, organization, or institution to collaborate with, consider more complex details, such as scheduling and planning meetings/events, larger projects to work on as a group, and tasks members might be responsible for. Maybe your group will meet monthly, with each meeting planned out, including introductions, an initial writing exercise, as well as time allotted to share progress on projects and edit each other’s work. 


Also, as you build your formal group, research potential guest instructors, such as local university professors, local poets, or literary journal/magazine editors. They can bring their knowledge on how to explore specific topics in one’s poetry, how to refine a collection or tips on reaching out to publishers. 

Building community through a writer’s group can help you find support and inspiration as you grow your craft. For more poetry gatherings inspo, check out our poetry-themed appetizers.