You can’t just write – you need an audience and you need feedback. To get these things, I started a writer’s group. It’s not a big group (we’re exactly 50/50 male/female and I’m the only woman) but we’re not looking to grow immediately. We’ll want to at some point, but we need to work out what we’re doing first.
Edinburgh has a good number of writers already and there are several writers groups in town. I had a look at the City of Literature website – they have a list – but didn’t find the perfect match. (I know people in Writer’s Bloc and don’t want to trespass. Is that weird? I’m not desperate for my own sandpit to play in though it might seem that way.) Edinburgh Creative Writing Club Meetup group also looks interesting and I’ve joined it to investigate.
The great thing about starting your own writer’s group is that you get to do it the way you want. The bad thing is that you have to make it all up. Also, you don’t have any cachet. We don’t get to read previews of successful author’s book because we don’t have any successful authors. We can’t ask that someone with a couple of books in the bag write something nice about us because we haven’t got books in the bag yet. But that will come.
You also don’t have many members. In our case, if one of us has a bad month, neither of us has a group to go to. If we were ten, that wouldn’t be the case.
Once you’re part of a writer’s group (or pair) you’re working with people who want you to succeed and who want to succeed themselves. That’s what it’s all about. Support, exchange of ideas and constructive criticism, spurring each other on. That’s what you need to keep motivated. Deadlines help too.