How To Find A Quality Writing Group

How To Find A Quality Writing Group

How to Find a Quality Writing Group 

How to find a quality writing group is something writers ask tome about every single day, and it’s usually about how frustrated they are with where they’ve been, or because they can’t find the right place to be in. 

Writing groups can be frustrating experiences. Writers may not feel a sense of belonging and community, but most importantly they don’t get the help they need, help that is centered around quality feedback. Instead, what they get is a lot of negativity, backbiting, and comparisons. You can imagine how frustrating it is to be in this kind of environment. All these writers want is a place they can go and have a quality writing experience.

And that is why I created this group called Write to Publish.

In this group, we use a structure based on my study of neuroscience–how your brain thinks and creates the best. Let me tell you about one of the things we found. 

Negativity in a group not only feels bad for the receiving person, it also doesn’t work from a neuroscientific standpoint in helping you you learn and create well. So what does that mean here in Write to Publish? 

We stand for a supportive group where you can have supportive interactions with group members.

You can see that by scrolling through the group page. Nowhere in Write to Publish will you see insults, name-calling, criticism, and other negativity I have seen in other groups. That is something we do not tolerate. 

Other writing groups have people who join with a kind of “dump and leave” philosophy.” People jump in there and say “Buy my $0.99 ebook,” but never interact with anyone. All they want is people to read their ebook. You will never see a post like that in Write to Publish. We simply do not allow them. We do sometimes tell you about the programs that are tried, true, and tested in the absolute “know.”

 We are interested in you as a person and as a writer, so all of the programs we endorse in Write to Publish also work from a neuroscientific standpoint. 

People in other writing groups frequently ask for feedback. They want are beta readers, to send you some pages of their book, for you to give their book an amazon review, and more. You will never see people asking for feedback structures in Write to Publish.

So what does feedback mean to us?

Here, we take feedback seriously. It has to be quality, not something you get from just anyone. Our feedback is based on neuroscience, based on interactions that you have around your writing. That means we give feedback in the best way we know how, based on how your brain learns, creates, and revises the best. We want to protect you from beta readers and all the other businesses that happen in other writing groups. 

In Write to Publish, we care about our amazing community of writers.

We have tons of resources in our page, such as videos where I answer frequently asked questions about writing, publishing, and selling your novel. I address questions such as “How do I finish a novel?” “What do I do with my characters? My plot arc?” “What are the different kinds of publishing?” “How do I know that I got a reliable publisher” “How do I market my novel?” and more.

Here, we care a lot about your writing and publishing journey.

We do not tolerate negativity and poor feedback so you can have a space where your brain is functioning at optimal capacity, and you can be the writer you want to be. 

If you want to have a chat about where you are, where you’d like to go, and how you can get there, click this link. And please, do not hesitate to join our Facebook group Write to Publish if anything I said resonated with you. 

Is Your Feedback Based On Neuroscience

Is Your Feedback Based On Neuroscience

Is Your Feedback Based On Neuroscience?

Many of you continue to ask about feedback, such as what kind of feedback you should get, where you should get it from, and what qualifies as quality feedback. 

As I mentioned before, feedback is a commodity that cannot be undervalued.

But what happens if you don’t get quality feedback for your writing?

Some writers have given up writing, because they got feedback from someone who did not want to help them. In other words, they got feedback from the wrong source at the wrong time

Feedback isn’t something anyone can give you. It takes an expert, a professional, to give you quality feedback that can help you with your writing career. 

Two things that you need to keep in mind are the timing and quality of the feedback.

The way that your brain works is shown by neuroscientific research. There are certain times where feedback works better under certain methods. I’ve seen this first hand at the brain imaging lab. This is just how your brain works, and you cannot change it. 

Writers I work with have access to the information I learned on the work that I‘ve done in the brain lab and studying neuroscience. This information can help them with their writing career.

I work with them in a way that the feedback they get can be valuable to their writing. What does that mean for you? What does it mean to have feedback that can help your creativity rather than stifle you? 

Here at the Writing Gym, we hold writing salons. We had an in-person salon in Colorado, and the people there were amazed with the creative release they experienced.

They did not want to stop writing, because inspiration just kept coming. 

No, this is not a magic trick. It’s just neuroscience. We have to address our brain’s needs in the way that it works. Once we learn how to optimize the way that our brain works, we get to a very creative zone. 

If you are interested in optimizing your creativity and learning how your brain works to move your writing forward, put yourself right into my calendar for a talk

What is the Most Overlooked Ingredient to Publishing Success?

What is the Most Overlooked Ingredient to Publishing Success?

What is the Most Overlooked Ingredient to Publishing Success? 

It’s probably not what you think it is. 

The most overlooked ingredient to publishing success is clarity.

Many well-meaning authors attempt to find clarity by seeking feedback. More often than not, they end up more muddled than when they started.

I was working with one of my clients, Vivian, in some intricate plotting and pacing in her novel. Vivian is a highly intelligent writer. Her writing is very intricate, detailed, and interwoven. 

She told me: “I am so happy you see my novel. I got so many useless feedback before. They’ve told me that I’m writing two books in one novel, to take out a character or a thread that is not going to work. No ones ever really understood my vision clearly before.” What I did in working with her is I gave her the first of clarity. 

What has she done before? She went to free writing groups and received unhelpful and unclear feedback. In short, she was not given the feedback that she needed in order to make progress in her writing. What she really needed was someone who could get the clarity on many aspects of her book and how they are interwoven. 

You only call a mechanic to fix your car and a plumber to fix your sink. If you want quality feedback that gives you clarity and moves you forward, call a professional–someone who understands the intricacies of interwoven characters, plot, and more. The bottom line: If you want clarity, seek a professional.

We are professionals over at the Writing Gym VIP Membership, where we help you finish a novel to publishable. We help you to revise your novel to industry standards, find an agent, and publish your novel at the Publishing Mastermind.

If you are serious about having a long term writing career, I’d love to speak with you about where you are, where you’d like to go, and how you can get there. 

Too many cooks spoil the cupcakes: How to solicit the best feedback from the get-go

Too many cooks spoil the cupcakes: How to solicit the best feedback from the get-go

Too many cooks spoil the cupcakes: How to solicit the best feedback from the get-go

Writing tips how to get good writing feedbackIt is said “too many cooks spoil the cupcakes,” or something like that. Was it soup? Broth? Doesn’t matter; the point is: the same is true for excessive feedback on writing. Once we’ve solicited a lot of feedback, it can be difficult to figure out which voices to listen to in order to discover the final direction for a piece of writing.

Here are some writing tips to keep your sweet little nuggets of writing genius from going sour.

Know when your piece or writing is ready to share. To everything a time and a season.

There’s a moment for creation and a moment for polishing. Imagine you were going to bake cupcakes, so you take out all all the ingredients, then invite me over. You show me the flour, the mixing bowl, and the cute little paper cups. “What do you think of my cupcakes?” you ask.

Now, if I start meddling in your process, asking questions like “Why did you choose vanilla instead of chocolate?” or offered advice such as “Use multicolored sprinkles on your frosting for better appeal,” you might feel so overwhelmed by all the possibility that you never follow through and make the cupcakes.

The same is true for the creative process. Like baking, if I share before a piece is fully formed, I will get feedback that both impedes my creative process and the piece’s potential to come to fruition.

Writing tips how to get good writing feedbackImagine instead that you bake the cupcakes and then invite me over for a taste. Then I might ask questions such as “Why did you make vanilla over chocolate?” to help me understand your process. But it’s more likely–because the cupcakes are fully-formed–that I can go deeper and give you feedback that will help you make better cupcakes next time. As your friend who cares deeply for your development as a cupcake baker, I can offer suggestions such as “Use more egg next time for lighter cupcakes.” or “Use less sugar in the frosting.”

This type of feedback will really help you to improve your baking rather than confuse or overwhelm you.

The bottom line is: don’t confuse the creative process with the critique process. Critique should only happen once a piece is as fully formed as you can get it.

But what if you’re stuck and want feedback to move you forward?

When this happens to me, when a stubborn character won’t move or I don’t know what he says next, I come up with one specific question and play a “what if” game.

For example, recently I decided to add a plot line to a novel I have under revision. I knew the general direction I wanted to go, but I also wanted a spur on my creative self. So I sat down to dinner with friends and said “Suppose there’s this mysterious couple living across the hall….”

After I’d explained the scenario, my creative friends threw in lots of “what ifs” that helped confirm some plot ideas I had and gave me a new direction for my thinking. The conversation also had the added benefit of re-energizing me about my work. My friends’ enthusiasm rubbed off on me, and I approached the plotting with new eyes. All of this happened without a single bit of feedback on what I had actually written or conversation about the plot as it stood. I protected the piece from premature scrutiny, and was able to spur myself back into creativity.

Get the right kind of feedback at the right time

I once read about a famous women’s lit author who gets through the loneliness of the creative phase by having a celebration for her writing. In order to hold herself accountable for completion, she pledges to provide X chapters to her friends every month, week, whatever. During the creation phase, her friends only tell her what they liked.  This positive feedback helps her to move forward with the creation phase. Once she’s completed a finished product, she’ll revise and then ask for content feedback.

There’s an important distinction between the creative function and the critique function–you are using two separate parts of your brain. Keeping those functions separate is an important part of enhancing creativity and bringing a piece to completion.

Writing tips how to get good writing feedbackTo continue the cupcake analogy, you don’t want intricate baking advice from someone who can’t really evaluate the situations. Sure, we all love cupcakes, but that doesn’t make us experts on baking them. It only makes us experts on what we like and don’t like. Readers and writing workshops can give us feedback on what they like and don’t like, but they don’t necessarily have the technical expertise to talk about how to increase tension, where to enhance or reduce dialogue, or when  to use understatement. For that kind of quality feedback, you need to work with people who truly understand the intricacies of quality writing, how to explain it, and how to help a writer to implement it.

It’s important to have a coach or critique group who knows the difference between the creative process and the critique process and when and how to give feedback one each.

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