I’ve attended writing groups both off and online. I prefer groups that meet in person because it’s nice to put a name with a face and it’s easier to discuss the feedback you receive. However, sometimes a writing group isn’t what it appears to be. The organizer may have good intentions about running the group, but sometimes they can be more like a dictatorship rather than a democratic process. Groups need rules and regulations but flexibility is needed as well. If you can’t find a writer‘s group that works for you, why now create one? It may seem like a lot of work but once you get the hang of running the group, it could be a lot of fun.
You may want to cap or limit the amount of people in a writer’s group. Sometimes when groups become too large, it’s easy to get off course. Some groups cap at 20 or 30. You could always limit your group to 10 people and decide as a group if you’d like to allow more members to join. You could always create ‘sub groups’ from the main writing group. You could have a sub group specifically for screenwriting, YA, non-fiction (self-help), novellas, poems, children’s pictures book, or other writing niches.
You’ll have to decide where to hold the writing group. Sometimes bookstores work and sometimes they don’t. A local or ‘mom and pop’ bookstore may work better than a chain bookstore like Barnes and Nobles. The noise level could get out of control. You may consider meeting at the library but they could charge $50 or more to rent the room. This means you’d have to charge a membership fee for your writer’s group or pay the room fee. Another alternative is to have it at your home or if you live in an apartment or condo, they may allow you to use their business center. Again, they may charge a fee to rent the space.
Starting your own writing group could be a wonderful experience. It’s a good way to build and expand your leadership skills. You’ll also strengthen your speaking skills. When you begin a writer’s group, you get to set the agenda and build it with the input of members. Make sure you create a cohesive group. Your group may not be for everyone and that’s all right. Don’t take it personally if you lose members. It is better they leave the group than cause dissension among members. Who knows, your writing group could gain the attention of the local media which could be good for you and all members of the group. Good luck!