Writing Alone, Writing Together
A Guide for Writers and Writing Groups
Writing may be a solitary endeavor, but what writer couldn’t use a little support, feedback, and camaraderie?
Whether it’s with one other writer, with a small group, or with an entire online network, writers often seek the solace of a like-minded community and gravitate toward groups to help them reach their goals.
Writing Alone, Writing Together offers:
- Nuts and bolts guidelines for forming and running groups of various kinds
– Read and Critique
– Writing Practice
– Writing Workshop, and others
- Savvy strategies for navigating the emotional ups and downs of groups
- Insights and encouragement that can only come from a fellow writer
- Rituals and routines for writing alone
- Information about
– conferences and retreats
– colonies and associations
– and open readings
- Ideas for writers to give back to their communities
“What a wonderful resource to offer at the end of writing seminars when everyone asks plaintively, ‘but how do I keep going?’ For the writer, the reminders in this book are useful, for the group member the structure helps insure mutual benefit, longevity, and many publication parties!”
~ Christina Baldwin
Author of Life’s Companion and The Seven Whispers
“Judy Reeves’s books are an all-night train to the writing life. I open them when I’m feeling inspired, or in need of inspiration. Original, thoughtful, and generous, Writing Alone, Writing Together is packed with useful advice, energy, and insights. Judy Reeves reminds us that, while writing is solitary, to be a writer is to be part of a community. A must for every writer’s shelf!”
~ Gwendolen Gross
Author of Getting Out
“A few writers gather. For an hour or two the isolation that all writers feel is replaced by relationship. A small miracle of community occurs. Judy Reeves explores the risks and rewards of writers groups in this lucid, compassionate guide that is sure to be of value to every writer, novice and experienced alike.”
~ Eric Maisel, Ph.D.
Author of Deep Writing and The Van Gogh Blues
“Writing Alone, Writing Together is an impassioned call tow rite, one you will return to often for inspiration. Judy Reeves shows with engaging insight and clarity how writing with others can help you and your writing flourish. Judy genuinely loves writing and people who write (or want to!) and that creative energy makes every page of this book come alive.”
~ John Fox
Author of Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-making and
Finding What You Didn’t Lose
“You can open the book and pick and choose your advice …, or you can read the book front to back, chapter by chapter. Either way, you will come away with the tools to take you from solitary writer to participant – or even leader – of a writing group. … The question is, are you prepared? Well, nothing can prepare you better than Writing Alone, Writing Together.”
~ The Writer
“This is a positive and practical bible for writers—it offers everything you need to keep the fires burning and stave off the blues. Ahhh, the time alone writing in a flow state of brilliance and spontaneity feeds you during the day, and the muse comes to visit at night. The mysterious process of writing is intoxicating. But wait! Here comes writer’s block—fear, nagging doubt, stops and starts. You offer up a prayer, light a candle and of course join a writers group. But which one, with what focus and who with? All these issues are masterfully and compassionately addressed in this book. It is a definitive guide which enables the very best written expression possible under many imagined circumstances.
There are examples, checklists, sidebars and framed exercises. The book names three steps to being a writer: Claim yourself as a writer, make time to write and write!
Judy Reeves uncovers many facets of the inner and outer life processes of a writer, with ideas to help open, heal and reveal that special passion inside to express and create. She serves up just the right ingredients for writing your bliss and staying sane simultaneously.”
~ Kennedy Hassett,
From Need Coffee:
“Writing Alone, Writing Together is a wonderful guide for any writer who is considering joining or starting a writing group, or for anyone who is currently in such a group and wants to get more out of the experience.
The book opens with a look at why many writers want to join a group–the need for actual work to be done alone, but for support that helps that work get done. Writers with their solitary natures and occupations often hunger for some form of clan or tribe that supports them psychologically and provides a place for practice and feedback, encouragement, discipline, or just general human contact.
The text begins with an introduction that explains why the author wrote the book and says a bit about why writing groups are so useful to writers, even when they initially resist the idea. Chapter One talks about the solitary nature of writing and general practices that support the writing life. Chapter Two plunges into the nitty-gritty of being in groups, including how to leave one when the time comes or how to start your own. Chapter Three talks about group dynamics and a few useful activities. Chapter Four focuses in on read-and-critique type groups, Chapter Five covers writing practice groups, and Chapter Six looks at writing workshop groups. Finally, Chapter Seven goes beyond physical groups to look at online meetings, open readings, and other such adjunct communities. The book closes with an appendix of online groups and a solid bibliography of other useful books.
All along the way, the book provides additional information as necessary. Starting with Chapter Three, each chapter has a profile of a good writing group. There are also sidebars and lists to compliment the reading of the text, providing things like lists of questions to ask yourself before choosing a group. Marginalia includes quotes from writers on writing, checklists, writing prompts and practice exercises, and other assorted information.
The prose is very honest, straightforward, and insightful. As a writer herself, Reeves understands that while writers are as different as the books they write, there are still elements common to most of us or that afflict us periodically as we struggle to produce. Reeves’ focus is on those writers who do want some form of community, but she does not besmirch those who do not; she merely feels that most writers at some point during their careers will want community, at least briefly or for a specific project. Reeves’ prose is very clear, readable, and friendly, but not overly familiar or too casual to be taken seriously. The prompts and ideas for writing practice are wonderful–great places to start when the internal creative well gets stopped up.
In short, Writing Alone, Writing Together is a good text for any writer who dreams of finding or creating a writing group that is a true fit. She doesn’t talk down to the reader, nor does she deal only in platitudes or useless, baseless support. She offers real, honest advice and presents a solution that will require work, dedication, and involvement–but what in a writer’s life does not?”
~ Review submitted by Dindrane
From New Connexion:
“Writing Alone, Writing Together by Judy Reeves, is a writing book that actually does something different. Don’t get me wrong, I love “how-to” writing books, but except for new writing prompts and reinforcement that you, too, can be a writer, there isn’t often an awful lot of unique information.
Writing Alone, Writing Together breaks new ground. Judy busts some of the old rules, like “you have to write everyday” or “you must go to writing group every week forever.” Even better, she gives you detailed information about many different types of writing groups, including outlines for each one and the reasons why each is valuable. To me, it is like the difference between someone saying “today you write a novel” and “today you write a novel and the first step is….”
Judy also has set up an easy to read and attractive book, with neatly organized chapters. On the page edges, in careful key, are descriptions of some typical group participants (and how to best handle them!) along with inspirational quotes.
As you can tell, I enjoyed reading this book. My only problem was that part way through the book I had the urge to close it and get started writing again (to me, a sure sign of a well written book on writing). However, it is even more of a tribute to the book that the contents were worth my continuing to read it.”
~ Alaina Zipp