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5 Reasons Why You Should Join a Writing Meetup

To write more, learn faster, learn about new resources, and write better.


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Beant K Dhillon

2 years ago | 3 min read

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

There’s a proverb, possibly African, that goes something like “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” So if you want to go far with your writing, and find the loneliness of writing to be difficult, then joining a meetup might be just the thing for you.

I joined a writing meetup last summer. We meet every two weeks to give each other feedback on the submitted pieces. Based on my experience, here are the five ways in which a meetup can help you write better.

1. Write more

According to most advice, writing often is essential for writing well. Since joining the meetup, I have started writing more because now there’s someone to write for! In the last seven months alone, I have written around 18000 words — seven articles, four short stories, and one longer story. Before joining, I had written around 16000 words over five years.

Having in-person interaction with readers (fellow writers) gave me the confidence and the push to write a multi-chapter story of around 7000 words, the longest one I have written so far. I could not imagine writing such a long story last year.

2. Learn the strengths and weaknesses of your writing

Earlier this year, I read Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, by Ericsson and Pool. The authors say that to master a skill you should pinpoint your weaknesses and work on them.

Like most aspiring writers, I had read a lot about plot, characters, scenes, conflict, and everything else that makes a story. But I had no idea which of these I could do well, and where do I need to grow. Here’s an example of feedback I got for one of my stories,

“For me, this story was like straight line, it didn’t feel like much was at stake for the main character. I knew she was going to get what she wanted, and she did.”

Such comments can help you figure out your weaknesses and blind spots. I had been thinking about crafting the right words while the real problem was the plot. For the current story that I am working on, I took around five months to come up with a plot with three different endings. This would not have been possible without the feedback.

3. Read better

When we read each others’ pieces and give feedback, we learn how words and sentences evoke certain kinds of moods or emotions. This has changed the way I read.

Now when I highlight parts in a story while reading, I also note down why I like that part, and what ideas or thoughts it brings up. For example, I loved the following sentence in Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver where the air has a texture like ‘soggy’ or ‘brittle’. While highlighting, I noted down other words for the texture of air, like thick, silken, velvety, thorny. When I am stuck while writing, I go back to these notes and use them as inspiration to write my own scenes.

A sentence I liked from Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
A sentence I liked from Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver


4. Get inspiration and resources

From other members in the meetup, I learned about resources like the Hemingway Editor which helps in simple and clear writing. It gives you an estimate of which Grade can read your article. It highlights the hard to read sentences — either the sentence is too long or it uses long words. Below is a screenshot of the Hemingway analysis of this article-in-progress.

A screenshot of Hemingway App for the current article-in-progress
A screenshot of Hemingway App for the current article-in-progress


Another one I learned about is The Grinder which can help you identify the places to submit your writing and manage your submissions.

A screenshot from The Grinder’s homepage
A screenshot from The Grinder’s homepage


5. Belong to a writing community

Joining this community of writers makes me feel like I can go far, and writing does not feel like a lonely pursuit anymore. We are all on a journey to get better at the craft of writing and supporting each other on the way. In these quarantine days, we meet online and it feels like an interval of sanity and companionship.

We share our challenges, inspiration, jokes, and learning, what more can one ask for? Like Ben Zander says in The Art of Possibility, “At least each of us had an accomplice in our folly.” I am happy with my accomplices in the folly of writing :).

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Beant K Dhillon

Beant Dhillon is a writer, artist and a Sr. UX Research consultant. She writes about creativity, books, freelancing, writing, learning, and growing as a user researcher. You can find more of her articles at: https://medium.com/@beant.ux


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