Jon Gibbs (jongibbs) wrote,
Jon Gibbs

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Would you like to help me start something potentially big?

The other week, I posted something about why I thought a good writing group was a boon for any writer. Some of the folks who commented mentioned how hard it is to find one, which in turn led to comments from people like my friend, mtlawson, who went on to post his own entry about how it would be great to have some sort of searchable database.

The trouble is: How would one possibly create and maintain such a monster?

I think I have the answer. Using a combination of national/state-based Yahoo groups, moderated and updated by writers within those countries/states, and a central website to act as an online signpost (as well as a place where writers share their knowledge and experience) we can set up a free to join, free to use network of links which would enable people to find and/or set up writing groups anywhere in the world.

Here’s how it works:

Let’s say you live in Monmouth County, New Jersey, USA and you’re looking to join a creative writing group. Your Google search takes you to (FAWG for short). From there, you’d follow the link to the relevant Yahoo Group, in this case, FindAWritingGroupinNewJersey. Once you join, you’ll find links to writing groups throughout New Jersey. What's more, you get to connect with other writers in your own country/state.

Who will join/run these groups?

Other writers, just like you and me. They join the FAWG network to find a local writing group, promote or start up their own (be it a statewide organization, like the GSHW in New Jersey, or a small meeting at a local Barnes & Noble), or just to connect online with other writers in their country/state.

Why would they stay?

Aside from the obvious networking benefits, I hope to make a useful writing website. It comes with a blog (I’ve called it Write Around the World).

As well as copying my weekly selection of interesting posts on there, I hope to persuade some of my writer/agent/editor friends to guest post on a regular basis.

Why would someone set up/moderate a FAWG Yahoo group?

I’ll add a brief bio of everyone who sets up and/or moderates a FAWG Yahoo group to the FIND A WRITING GROUP page on the main FAWG website, along with a link to their blog and website. As the FAWG network grows, those people should see a significant increase in traffic.

Is it hard to set up a Yahoo Group?

It’s a straightforward process. I’ve even provided a cut & pastable blurb for the 'Description' section on the Yahoo homepage. Once you’re up and running, there should be little maintenance needed (I’ve run two Yahoo groups for over a year now, and aside from the occasional spam message, I’ve had no problems). Of course, from a networking point of view, you may want to start and/or get involved in some of the writing discussions that take place, but that’s entirely up to you.

I’m interested in helping. What do I do now?

Please spread the word. Also, if there isn't already a FAWG Yahoo group for your country or state, consider setting one up by following the instructions on the Set up a FAWG Group page on the website.

There’s no reason why several people can’t moderate a national/state group together, so if you want to get someone to help you, that’s fine with me – though I’m going to limit things to three bio/links on the website per Yahoo Group for the moment.

I plan to officially launch the network sometime near the end of January, so there’s plenty of time to iron out any wrinkles in the system before we get things going. In the meantime, any suggestions or opinions are, as always, most welcome.

Tags:, writing groups

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