Writing and self-publishing are not solitary endeavors as some might assume. Sitting alone in front of a computer can only get you so far. If you're struggling to get your words onto the page or to cross the finish line and self-publish your book, joining a writing group can help.
Get an informed, objective opinion on your writing
Many of us have been writing since we were children and have had input from parents, teachers, and friends, but those can be biased and subjective. It can be immensely helpful to hear the perspectives of those who don’t know you yet, even if you may not like what some of them have to say. If their criticisms are true, it only serves to improve your writing. If not, you can shrug off their opinions and keep moving forward.
No one can know everything about everything. You’re supposed to write what you know, but what happens when one of your characters gets into a situation you’re not familiar with? The people in a writing group may come from different places and have different backgrounds, families, and cultures. They might be able to give insight you never thought of, or have experience that relates to your story. In a small way, you’re crowd-sourcing life experience and knowledge, which will enhance your credibility as an author.
Learn the business side of writing
You may be a great writer, but publishing, selling, and marketing your book requires a different skillset. A little business acumen will serve you well. Some group members may have been through the process before and can share tips and things to watch out for.
Many writers do feel lonely and may have trouble getting out there. A writing group can help you find friendship and support, attain a sense of belonging, and just socialize in general for better mental and emotional health.
Being a part of a network of writers can help you move from "writer" to "successful published author." Your fellow group members could have connections to businesses that would be interested in your work. They might know someone who has the insider knowledge you need for part of your book. You may find people you can collaborate with for marketing, if your books relate to each other. At the very least, you’ve broadened your reach, and they can recommend you to their friends and family.
Get new experiences
Beyond learning from the experiences of your new friends, being in this sort of dynamic actually gives you new experience to write from. Every interaction you gain can make your writing more authentic and relatable. If you’re basically a shut-in, writing about social interactions isn’t going to come off as very believable.
Free editing and proofreading
You shouldn't use those in your writing group as your only editors, but it will absolutely improve your writing and make it as polished as possible before you put it in front of a professional editor. Peer revision will find issues you’ll never see on your own and shouldn’t be neglected. Being part of this group will also give you a pool of beta readers when the time comes.
Meeting regularly with other writers will encourage you to keep writing. Interacting with others who have similar interests can motivate or inspire you to write more or to try different genres. Even if the meeting is the only time you write for a season, at least you’re still producing.
Your group meetings will likely be something you look forward to each week. You can have a good time and enjoy yourself and the company of other writers. While writing is the focus, these groups often include games, food and drinks, and celebrations, such as when one of you publishes a book or meets a sales goal. You’re doing what you love with people who love it too; it should be fun!