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Creating a Local Writer’s Group for Authors to Exchange Ideas

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When HubPages asked for volunteers to host events for writers to meet and socialize, I leaped at the opportunity. Here's how I did it.

Left to right: Rita, Rich, Jim, Jeff, and Glenn

Left to right: Rita, Rich, Jim, Jeff, and Glenn

If you are thinking about organizing a local group of writers to share ideas and their experiences, this article will help you understand how it could evolve.

I'll give you the background of how I did it and share examples of how you can make it happen too.

My group was specific to HubPages writers, but you can make your group generalized for interested contributors from any platform.

Why Build a Community of Local Writers?

It's constructive to get writers together face to face where they can share what they know about publishing online articles.

A group for writers brings local authors together as a niche community for sharing what they have experienced. It allows members to learn from one another with a positive approach to improving their success with online writing.

Everyone benefits when writers can share knowledge of search engine optimization, rules of the various platforms they might be writing on, and sharing individual success stories.

How I Got Started

In January 2011 HubPages asked for volunteers to organize Local HubMeets, allowing anyone to arrange their own local group where writers can meet and socialize.

I knew several other HubPages writers in my area, so I decided to organize meetings in a local venue. It was a great experience, meeting other writers personally and sharing methods for success with content publishing.

Bring People Together Who Want to Write Online

I discovered something interesting in my very first meeting. Writers have loads of things to talk about, and they don't hesitate to share their feelings.

Writers are not only creative people, but they are also knowledgeable in their area of expertise. No matter what it is, they like to contribute to the discussion and help one another achieve success. It can be fiction stories, educational essays, professional literature, or whatever. It’s all a means of sharing one's knowledge and intellect.

Finding The Right Venue for Meetings

It’s important to have Wi-Fi available so members can have online access with their laptops or smartphones.

I chose a place for our meetings that sold food too, so we could have lunch during our sessions. Whole Foods and Panera Bread are two venues that are perfect for this.

The picture of us at our meeting above was taken at a local Whole Foods.

What to Expect From a Writer’s Group

Think about the experience you want to create for your members. When I began to organize my local group, I decided to let our discussions be brainstorming sessions for authors to share ideas.

Everyone was eager to participate. However, as time went on, we got more into the business side of it. One member spoke about his first published article and explained how difficult it was to complete it. That's something most writers deal with, and everyone offered their input on how they dealt with procrastination.

Another member told us about his method of writing articles that answer questions on a variety of subjects. I found that he likes to ask questions that make people think. We all reinforced the notion that he should continue to write articles with that concept.

We quickly discovered that a new member, who never published anything yet, had a lot to offer in our discussions. She came up with ideas that would attract Google traffic, and that is one of the crucial things that every writer should consider.

I discovered that our members clearly wanted to share, and share they did.

Scheduling Events

As an organizer, you will need to handle particular tasks to advertise the group and schedule events. It's also crucial to create rules to keep members focused on the group's requirements.

Here are a few things you'll need to do as an organizer:

  • Describe member requirements.
  • Schedule group events that fit best for active members.
  • Select venues for meetings that have Wi-Fi.
  • Create a description of your group to use in advertising.
  • Place ads with local tabloids or on social media.

Many tabloids and weeklies allow social announcements at no charge, but you have to plan it well in advance since ad space is usually limited. You can also post schedule information on Facebook or Twitter.

Promoting Your Writer’s Group

When you post events on social media or in local newspapers, it’s essential to include a description of the group and its purpose.

If you know of writers on HubPages near you, reach out to them via the “contact author” link on their profiles to invite them to join your group. If they are not interested, leave them alone and don’t spam them.

You’ll eventually get other interested people from your announcements. If nothing else, you might make new friends who have an interest in writing.

By all means, you can create a group for content creators from any writing platform. And the same thing applies to reaching out to authors no matter where they write.

Sixteen members of our group.

Sixteen members of our group.

Get Your Members Talking

After several months, we had 16 members, but only four or five attended any single meeting. Nevertheless, we always had so much to discuss that keeping it small was helpful. Otherwise, the discussions can quickly get out of hand.

Everyone usually has something to share that the others can put to good use. Local writer's meetings provide a way to add all our collective knowledge together so that we all benefit from it.

These meetings are a good way for newcomers to learn the ropes and discover the world of writing online. Many of our members never signed up on a writing platform, and some dropped out when they couldn’t keep up with the demanding requirements of a professional platform such as HubPages.

Those who stayed knew the reason why HubPages has had so many rules. We always discussed what was necessary to succeed by using proper grammar, considering SEO, and giving the reader what they expect from the title.

A Brainstorming Session

We had a lively brainstorming experience at one of our meetings. Sometimes that can give us ideas to expand on with an article.

  • Rita: I'd rather be sadder but wiser.
  • Glenn: You mean we can't be both?
  • Jeff: Wise men may be sad for being wise.
  • Rich: New Thought. Our brain hasn't aged. Only our body has. We still function with the thoughts of a younger person and still allow these thoughts to guide us.
  • Bob: Another realism: Morse code was the first real digital communication. It only has dots and dashes. That's binary!
  • Glenn: Hey, I have an acronym for A-C-R-O-N-Y-M. A Crazy Random Other Nuance You Made.
  • Jeff: A typical poor grammar I see: "Where are you at?" Should just say, "where are you?"
  • Glenn: Poor spelling that I often see: "A lot" spelled as one word.
  • Jim: "Dictionary" is in a thesaurus, and "thesaurus" is in a dictionary.

Well, after all that, we wound down with another 30 minutes or so of small talk before calling it a night.

In Conclusion

Over the years, our group started becoming a social get-together rather than a place to discuss new trends with online writing or sharing lessons learned to help one another with their articles.

These things have a way of morphing into something different from what was initially planned. One never knows what life has in store for us.

Whatever your decision is on how you intend to duplicate this idea, I recommend you give it a try. You might just meet some wonderful writers who are local or in the nearby vicinity. Hey, you might even make some new friends.

© 2011 Glenn Stok

Comments

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on November 19, 2018:

Jim, Thanks for your review of the past and the present for writers's groups. I think the main focus if we get started again, is to review the latest changes with the sale of HubPages. Maven has brought a lot of progressive opportunities for increased ad revenue. And HubPages has implemented many new features that need to be understood to use correctly. I'm sure this will be an enlightening subject to be discussed.

James Bowden from Long Island, New York on November 19, 2018:

Glenn;

Thank you for sharing your updated article about organizing writer groups. Some good points and additional ideas to inspire others to start similar groups like our original one back in 2012. It certainly brought back some fond memories. But it was a shame that the original group lost focus on writing and similar related topics. I think right fro my the start of our new group that this is not a group for meeting new people, but one where we will only concentrate on writing essays, short stories and fiction for starters. And keep on the topic of writing and that this is not a group dating meetup per say. Where others in the past may have been seeking just that. So this way a line can be drawn for those serious about writing and those who are mainly interested in finding a soul mate!

Jim

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 04, 2014:

thelyricwriter - Since I wrote about these Social Meetups, it seems that HubPages had dropped the idea. I noticed they removed their blogs that were written about it. I think it's because there was not much interest among the HubPages community to get together in person. Many Hubbers had tried and failed to get others to join. Thanks for your comment and the vote. It's nice to see someone still has an interest.

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on May 04, 2014:

I never knew this even existed. This is pretty cool. I've been using MeetUp for years now and it is a great tool to use. Very cool, thanks for sharing. Voted up, useful and awesome.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 17, 2013:

Hi Sue - I'm glad you stopped by. I remember when you came to one of our local HubMeets in Smithtown. We stopped having those meetings when Meetup.com started sending repeated emails to our vendors, inundating their inbox. I was thinking that someday I may try using a Google Hangout for our meetings. But not too many of us are on Google Plus yet. Hope you've been well. Good to hear from you.

Sue B. on April 17, 2013:

I almost forgot about meetups! I found them useful and interesting just to see what other hubbers in the area are doing and why. Hubpages is an interesting community with many subcommunities!

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 16, 2013:

B. Leekley - Thanks for checking this out. I haven't been getting much attention here lately since HubPages is no longer pushing the local meetups. I may actually consider doing it with a Google Hangout someday.

Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on April 16, 2013:

Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared with followers.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 14, 2012:

Skarlet, Yes we can. It's been proven already at most of out meetups. We seem to go on for hours and no one gets tired. We all have so much to share to help one another. Look for a local HubPages group in your area or start one yourself. It's a great way to meet fellow writers and learn from one another. Welcome to HubPages.

Skarlet from California on April 14, 2012:

Thank you for this hub. I have only been here for a few weeks and have been wondering if there are any events that bring people together. It seems like fun. I can imagine that all these writers could talk to each other for hours on a variety of subjects.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on August 07, 2011:

Melbel, You can talk about anything you want. If you lead your own group, you decide how you want to run it. You can let the people guide the show or you can plan an agenda. I like to make a plan of things to discuss based on latest Forum conversations. But it really all up to you.

I saw your post in the Local Meetup Forum. Good luck with it. I wish you much success.

Melanie Palen from Midwest, USA on August 07, 2011:

Hey Glenn, how does this work? Do you talk about a specific topic? Is there a person who leads the group? I am starting a meetup simply because I think it would be fun, but I am really introverted with new people and, quite frankly, scared to death of my first meetup.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on March 31, 2011:

Thanks Robin. And thank you for making HubMeet a reality. I do plan another for sometime in May. That should give it time for more members to join.

Robin Edmondson from San Francisco on March 31, 2011:

Your HubMeet sounded like a great success! What a great recount of events! It sounds like you all bonded and I hope you are able to meet again!

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