Start Your Own Writing Group 

Want some nerdy fun that can help advance your career? Start your own writing group! You have several options, including:

  • A group of random writers from a variety of disciplines. Check out Meetup to see if there are already any groups meeting regularly in a cafe near you. These are fun if your goal is to meet new folks or work on your personal goal setting. However, you may not get a lot of useful feedback on your paper about neural network architecture.
  • A group of peers at work. Good times if you actually like your co-workers (yes, I fall into that category). You can either start a formal group (invite everyone) or informal (just ask around and let it grow organically). The danger in a formal group is that if you are in a leadership position, your invitation can come off more like an expectation. No one likes feeling voluntold.
  • A virtual writing group. There’s no reason you need a group in vivo. There are scads of ways to meet online using a FaceBook page, google docs, virtual teleconferencing or even Second Life. This is especially useful if you are one of a handful of folks studying your particular fascinating fungus. If there seems to be a lot of response to this blog, maybe we can set up something in this forum.

Okay, so you and a bunch of like-minded others have pens, paper and lattes. What’s next?  Again, you’ve got some choices:

  • A real feedback group. Group members provide drafts and get constructive feedback. Not just “this is great!”. Good when you don’t have other sources of feedback.
  • A fake feedback group. Group members share drafts and are told “this is great!”. Pretty annoying if you are expecting constructive feedback, but everyone needs unconditional love once in a while.
  • A goal-setting group. This is my personal fave. Hold regularly-scheduled brief meetings (30 minute tops) to go around the group and state progress on goals and set new ones.

Any other formats I’ve neglected? What works for you?