The Complete Guide to Writers Groups That Work: Part 3

Today we will posting an excerpt from B.J. Taylor’s new book, The Complete Guide to Writers Groups That Work.

The book can be purchased through Infinity Books.

I have my spouse read my writing and a couple of my friends. They always love what I write. Isn’t that enough?

Family and friends mean well, but if you are serious about your writing, you’ll need unbiased, constructive critiques and support for your endeavors. Writing is the first step, and you must do a lot of it to get better at it. Ultimately, we all want to be published (and to get paid as well).

“I did it!” Melanie exclaimed. She flourished a check in her hand. “I’m a published author!”

The group members seated around the table jumped up and gave Melanie a big hug.

“Rub some of that off on me,” Lynn said.

“Me, too,” Janice replied.

“You guys will be next, I just know it,” Melanie said. As she sank back into her chair, she thought of how far she’d come. A year ago she didn’t think she needed a writers group, but her method of writing alone hadn’t produced any results.

Now, with a check in her hand, she realized how important this group had been to her.

“I couldn’t have done it without you,” she said.

What exactly are the benefits of investing my time in a writers group?

Support, motivation, discipline, camaraderie, imposed deadlines, and a reason to write. Your life is hectic, and making time for your passion is something you must do for yourself.

Support, Encouragement, Motivation

The magazine arrives in the mail. You can’t wait to see your very first byline. You quickly flip to your page and drink in every word with your eyes. You can’t believe it. It’s finally happened! Now whom are you going to show it to?

“Honey, look at my story,” Gladys said to her husband one afternoon when he was reading the paper. She shoved the magazine under his nose. “Look, that’s my name right up there at the top under the title.”

“That’s nice, Sweetheart. Good job.”

Gladys knew her husband meant well. But did he really understand? She thought back to when she first sent in the query letter and the editor took an interest. “The magazine wants to see my piece on spec. Now I have to write it, she told her writers group. “What am I going to do?”

“Take it one step at a time,” Kay said. “First outline; then fill in the paragraphs with text; then revise and edit. We’ll help you, don’t worry.”

The first draft was rough. But her group members helped her talk out the theme for the manuscript and where she was going with each bulleted point. Over the course of several meetings, they helped her polish the document.

Now, with the magazine clutched in her hand, she called Kay. “You won’t believe it. I got my advance copy and my article is right there on page 16. My byline, too!”

“Oh, my gosh. I’m so excited for you,” Kay said. “I know how hard you worked to make that happen.”

Gladys basked in the glow of her friend’s caring words. The article was in print. Her first published work. It felt good to have someone truly understand.


B.J. Taylor said...

Ah, encouragement and support. Whenever I am down, all I have to do is look to one of my writers group members for a quick pick-me-up. They are there to soothe the battered soul and rejoice when I reach a new high.

Merrie, thanks for this time on your site to let others know about the secret society of writers groups, the one sure way to stimulate and motivate any writer. Now it's on to the Yosemite Writers Conference tomorrow. If any of you attend, stop me please and give the alien sign for peace. What's the secret sign? Darned if I know -- but stop me anyway and say "Hi."

Merrie Destefano said...

A writer with a heart and a sense of humor: a combination I love dearly!

Thanks so much for allowing me to interview you here at Alien Dream. You have a faithful following and I'm sure those numbers will grow as time passes.

The Yosemite Writers Conference sounds like way too much fun. You'll have to stop back later and let us know how it all went.

B.J. Taylor said...


Thanks for having me. Don't forget-aliens dream about Earth people so beware of nightmares and sleepless nights. It could be YOU they are dreaming about. :)

I'll come by and chat with you again after the Yosemite Conference. Looking forward to meeting everyone there, and seeing who, if anyone, knows that alien peace sign.

Merrie Destefano said...

Nanu nanu.

NOW I know why I can't sleep at night. And here I thought it was menopause. (All the men out there in cyberspace, please pretend like I didn't just say the "M" word.)

It's those dratted aliens. We've got to do something about them.

After Yosemite, yes. Come back and tell us everything. Have a great trip!