Last night in the Writer’s chat on Twitter, we spent a lot of time discussing what qualities we want in a writing group, how to find those people, and the types of feedback we like to receive.

Here’s the distillation of that conversation.
5. Decide what kind of group you want. Other writers? Readers? People in your genre? People in a variety of genre? Online? Face-to-Face?

4. Look for people who are like-minded about the type of group you want. Ask friends. Talk with classmates. Search the Web*. Check with local libraries or community centers. Chat with your friends on Twitter and Facebook.

3. Find a leader. Are you someone who can keep this group on track, manage the critique itself, and develop a communication or strategy? Or is there someone else in the group that can do these things for the group?

2. Set a schedule for how your group will work. Will one person email work to the group every two weeks and then you’ll gather to discuss and hand written comments to the reader? Will three of you plan to have your pieces workshopped in person?

1. Establish the kind of feedback you want to receive. Will it be mostly written? Verbal? Both? Do you want feedback weighted toward critique and suggestion more heavily than to “what’s working?” Do you want feedback in the form of questions, general commentary or suggestions on how to fix things?

These are all elements you have to decide as you look for or start your own writing group. However, all of us in the Twitter chat last night agreed on one thing: An effective group is honest and specific with their feedback and committed to the group and each other.

What suggestions do you have for forming a writing group? Do you have one; if so, how did you find them? What makes a good writing group? A poor one?

Many thanks to my writerly friends on Twitter. They inspire me in so many ways. Thank you to @jonfulk, @jenluit, @wordgirltalks, @robertjpeterson, @wordsmatteresw, @moduffycobb, @reneeronika and @caliBC. If you’re on Twitter, these folks are all worth a follow, and if you’d like, join us every Tuesday night at 9pm EST on Twitter to discuss writing. Just use the tag #writestuff to join.