Guest Post: Why You Should Join Your Local Writing Group!

I recently joined a local writing group and decided to participate in their blog hop.

As a theme for the posts, I asked for writing tips, since that’s the primary thing I like to blog about. It just so happened that my first guest post is from Jan Rayl, the President of Write by The Rails talking about WHY one should join a writing group.

Blog Tour 2018

Get in a local Writing Group!

Morgan thanks for asking me to guest blog about writing tips. I hope your writers will find the inspiration in the synergistic effects that being involved in a writing group can bring.

There are a plethora of “writing tips,” to be found with google searches. So, what sets this idea apart? This tip is not a solitary event. Writing is generally done alone which lends itself to distraction and wandering off track. Morgan and I regularly meet as part of Write by the Rails, our local writing group. The first time we met was at a coffee shop over the topic of marketing your book.


As an unpublished author, having the expertise of those that have gone before you is invaluable.

Find a group that is encouraging to new authors. You may want to join a specialty group for your specific genre such as romance, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, etc.
As President of Write by the Rails my biggest joy has been to have an unpublished author come to a meeting looking for help in publishing a book. Time and time again I have watched members step up to give them ideas and encourage them to come read a few pages at one of our open mic nights. I have members that will be beta readers and give invaluable feedback.

As an unpublished author, it is easy to get taken advantage of.

The expertise in a solid writing group can literally save you thousands of dollars. We have had first time published authors come in excited thinking they got a real deal. They have told us how they were able to get their book published for $2,000 to $5,000. Had they been involved with a writing group from the beginning we could have saved them this costly mistake. Money flows to the author!

To have an excellent product you will need to pay for some professional editing.

Unless you are an artist as well you will need a cover designer. The other aspects of getting your book published can now be accomplished by the traditional big publishing house or by YOU! It is now possible to get excellent book sales due to the massive increases in self-publication. Look for a writing group that has representatives of several publication methods.

You want to look for a writers’ group that has the depth you need to accomplish your goals.

For example, Write by the Rails holds regular meetings for the sole purpose of encouraging writers and sharing ideas. We share marketing ideas, help each other with marketing our writing. We were instrumental in starting a local open mic night to read and celebrate the written word. We have been able to get “local author sections” in several of our local bookstores. Write by the Rails has also published two anthologies which have been a great way for writers to get their first work published. We cheer each other on and attend book signings and encourage our friends and readers to attend as well. Write by the Rails started the Poet Laureate for Prince William County which has been held by many members of our group.

Recently our member, Alan Bonsall, self-published his first book. He had come to his first meeting about a year ago with a wonderful idea for a book about the Johnstown flood told through the eyes of a couple of young adults. He worked on his book with encouragement from members. Another member who is a professional writer and book designer, designed his cover. He came to a meeting full of excitement to show us his new book. We all shared in his excitement as we felt we had a tiny part in getting his book in print. Then he came to a meeting even more excited because he outsold a seasoned writer at a book signing event. Now that several of us have read his book, Young Heroes of the Lost Lake: A Johnstown Flood Novel, we are begging for a sequel!

Write by the Rails is a very encouraging group that balances encouragement for unpublished authors and accountability for the seasoned author.

We hold writing seminars and workshops to help us become our very best at writing. Talk about results, our club has more than fifty books published by members in the seven years we have been around. I hope that you will consider becoming involved in a writing group near you.


*****Jan RaylJan Rayl is in her third term as President of Write by the Rails. Write by the Rails is the Prince William County, Virginia area Chapter of Virginia Writer’s Club which celebrated 100 years in 2018. Jan has been published in numerous nursing journals and the Write by The Rails anthologies, New Departures and No Additional Postage Necessary. Jan blogs on travel, book reviews, and other musings check out her blog at

Check out the Write By The Rail blog hoppers:

Jan Rayl_ProfileSmall katherineMGotthardtSmall victorRookSmall TamelaRitter_profileSmall


  1. Man, there’s some solid points in this article, and I just wish we had a local writer’s group, but my town is so tiny. The closest one is probably ~45-minutes away. I think there’s something to be said about the rise of virtual writing groups, though (of which, I am a part of one) for those of us living in rural areas without a community of writers around us. 🙂 It can’t completely replace face-to-face groups, obviously, but it does offer many of the same benefits!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Interesting… My own experience with a writing group was not so pleasant. They had made way less progress than I had in the publishing world, yet felt qualified to criticize a few picky little things in my story. Trust me when I say they were no help at all, nor did I have any respect for them. I mean, we must consider the source of any criticism. They had no credibility. So, no. I don’t feel the need for another group, either. Beta readers yes: once I finish a book (I’m on my third) I definitely give it to people whose opinions I respect, for feedback.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every group is different. I’m gonna resist linking my blog post on THAT.

      But this one is more focused on supporting each others efforts (self-pubbed or not) and helping promote each other — and less on actually critiquing writing. So, it’s been easy to avoid that sort of negativity.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Crit groups get a bad wrap. Joe Lansdale said, too many cooks ruin the soup. But nothing, NOTHING improved my writing as quickly as a well-led crit group. I think the key is to recognize the group’s limit and to understand that most groups are finite.

    Liked by 1 person

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