Writing can be a very lonely occupation. Thankfully there’s the Internet, uniting writers from all around the globe. Every writer needs a writers’ group, a community where they can share ideas, ask questions, swap writing/editing/publishing tips and receive constructive feedback on their work. My writers’ group is Scribophile and here’s why:
1. Scribophile offers members free and premium memberships meaning those of us poor starving artists still get the benefit of a critique group without having to pay monthly fees. You can upgrade your account for the extra features at any time.
2. Scribophile is not a public forum meaning any work posted there is not for public consumption so it doesn’t count as having been published!
3. The forums provide a steady stream of interesting threads dealing with everything from when not to use adverbs to understanding publishing contracts. The forums also offer a chill out section where writers can just hang out and chat to each other about pretty much anything.
4. The critique system is brilliant and fellow writers constantly strive to provide the most constructive and encouraging crits they can. There is a genuine effort to help other writers improve and not just pull apart writing for the hell of it.
5. There’s a great sense of community at Scribophile; people genuinely want to help others succeed, supporting their writing endeavours and celebrating their successes no matter how small. In the highly competitive writing industry, this sense of community is precious and something to be appreciated and respected.
Of course, any writers’ group is only as useful as the writer makes it. Learning to take criticism in a critique can be a tough lesson, learning how to apply crits and comments when writing is such a subjective pursuit, is another even more important and tricky thing to learn. I have learned so much from the people on Scribophile, from both the seasoned writers and new comers, and am still learning how best to apply critique to improve my writing.
Every writer needs a writers’ group – that’s true, but finding the right writers’ group for you is more important than just joining any group. Scribophile certainly offers diversity with writers from all over the world writing in just about every genre and subgenre, the website is user friendly, the moderators are approachable, the crit service sleek and easy to use, the community great and the quality of critique generally very good. There is just one small problem with Scribophile… it certainly fuels the fires of procrastination and can often lead a BIC writing session astray by offering up interesting forum threads or new writing just begging for a crit.
I owe a very big thank you to the people of Scrib. Without their input I would not be sitting with 15 published short stories, nor would I have just signed a publishing contract with Etopia Press for my YA novel As Dust a Breath. It was only with the help of this writers’ group that I was able to improve enough to be published. So here’s to Scrib and all the other awesome writers there!