Been contemplating whether or not a writers' group is for you? In this article, we’ll be talking all about writers' groups, the benefits of joining, and how you can take part.
IT’S A TEAM EFFORT
First things first, if you’ve been on the fence about whether or not you should join a writers' group, we want to clear it up for you fair and square. The answer is yes. Yes, you should. As you’ve read on the blog before, the film and television business is a team effort. Creative decisions don’t come from one place. So you must be open and receptive to people dipping their fingers all in your literary kool-aide. You may as well start during your writing process by inviting respected colleagues to give notes on your drafts.
When you “finish” your script and sell it to a studio or submit it to your executive producer or creative exec, guess what they’re going to do? Give you notes. Yes. It’ll never be finished. It’ll never be perfect. They’ll run out of time in the production schedule and just go to production, making notes along the way, before they say a script is perfect. Get into it. Prepare yourself for this by getting used to receiving notes on your screenplay. By joining a writers' group, you will strengthen the muscle of learning how to take a note. You will learn how to implement notes that you feel will strengthen your screenplay and learn to simply say “thank you!” to notes you disagree with.
HOW TO FIND A WRITERS' GROUP
How do you find a writers' group? Good question. Anyone whose opinion you respect but won’t take personally will be of help. Sure, it’s great if some of these people are industry people so they can speak on structure, etc. But it’s even better to have non-industry people who come from a genuine, unaffected place and can simply say they understand or don’t understand your story. These are the people who will be watching your movie or TV show. These are the people who are in love with your characters and know them better than you do. These are the people who can read your script and find all of its flaws because if it doesn’t make sense on the page, it may not make sense on the screen.
Writing group members can be fellow writers. This way, you can return the favor by tearing their script to shreds (with great notes!). If you’re in a screenwriting class, see if anyone in the class wants to start a small group. The great thing about this digital age that we are in is there are a million communities of writers all over social media. Go to Twitter and search “Writers' Groups” in your area. Go to Instagram and search #writersofinstagram. Check out some community colleges, coffee shop boards, etc. Believe me, there is someone out there looking for notes just like you are. AND if all else fails, we’re here for you. Give your brain a break and let The Professional Pen handle the rest.
Looking to connect with fellow writers? Check out our BFF membership. It’s perfect for new and emerging writers and is a writers' group on a whole ‘nother level. Want to know how you can get better at addressing notes for your screenplay? Then be sure to register for our upcoming WTF Series Workshop - HTF do I address notes? with our CEO and Head Consultant Shannan E. Johnson on Sunday, November 20th at 1PM PT. Zoom links will be sent the Friday before class. You can purchase tickets here!