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Sunday, 13 December 2015

The Value of Writing Groups by Amy Boucher Pye



For over a year, I’ve been involved with an online writing group (a secret group in Facebook) with about thirty other women from both sides of the Atlantic. I didn’t know how much I needed this group before I was invited to join it – it’s provided a forum for support, friendship, encouragement, and creativity. If you’re a writer, you need something like this!

The group works through daily prompts during the week, with a different person hosting the conversation for a fortnight or so. These help us to set goals and explore various topics related to faith, art, and the craft of writing. We’re also split up into several small groups, where we have the chance to share prayer requests and, when needed, rants.

A few things make the group so special, to consider if you want to set up your own:

People
These women are amazing. Interesting, varied, fascinating. We don’t all hold the same views, but we respect and learn from each other. I knew, or knew of, about a third of them before meeting them here. I may never have met some of them in person, but I often forget that, because I feel so close to them.

Size
Make your group not too big so you can get to know everyone but not so small that it feels constricting. Our size feels right.

Confidentiality
This is a key value, which means we can be open about deadlines, the lost muse, publishers, partners, whatever. People feel free to be vulnerable and open because they know it’s a safe place. (I’m purposely being a bit vague in this post to keep what’s in the group, in the group.)

Support
When I’m frustrated with a deadline or a rejection, this is my first port of call to vent and ask for prayer. I love how people rally around, offering words of encouragement and virtual hugs. Just knowing that other writers are out there rooting for me has made such a difference in this year of writing my first book and seeing it published.

How about you? 
Are you part of a writing group? 
If so, how do you benefit from it? 
What pointers or tips can you add?

Amy Boucher Pye is a writer and speaker whose first book, FindingMyself in Britain, was published in October. She’s loving the master’s in Christian spirituality that she embarked on in September at Heythrop College, University of London. She blogs at amyboucherpye.com. After contributing ten blog posts to this wonderful community, she’s releasing her monthly slot to focus on beating back the encroaching deadlines, such as on her forthcoming BRF 2017 Lent book, The Living Cross.

6 comments:

  1. Amy - I went to Heythrop and did a diploma in Pastoral theology back in 89/90! Then my husband did a postgraduate diploma in Theology there and was half way though it when we married -so I am very fond of it and grateful for Ignatian spirituality. It is so interesting to read you are doing a Masters there.

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    1. Anne that's so great to hear! Did you know they are in serious trouble and if a new merger with Roehampton University doesn't work out, they'll be shutting down? Such a huge shame; praying this new arrangement will work out...

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  2. Sounds like a fantastic group - I think I need something like this...

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    1. I think you'd really benefit Claire; happy to give more advice offline if you want to set something up... xx

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