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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Does Your Writer’s Group Contribute to Writer’s Block and Resistance?

writers groupThe previous post (Writer See, Writer Do) highlights the power of mirror neurons. This is why being part of an effective writer’s community — and having your mirror neurons fire in synch with other writers’ positive approach and experiences — offers so many benefits.

But our mirror neurons don’t discriminate which people are worth emulating. This means that being part of a dysfunctional writer’s community can be worse than being alone.

Spending time in presence of other writers who are haphazard about honoring their writing commitments or have pessimistic attitudes can degrade your habits and attitude. Writer’s resistance can be “contagious”.

So it’s essential to take stock of the writing groups and communities you’re part of.

Where and how do you connect with other writers?

  • Are you part of a writing group or a larger writer’s community?
  • Do you connect with other writers at readings or in classes?
  • Do you collaborate on writing projects?
  • Do you tap into what other writers are thinking and doing from magazines, blogs, Twitter or other social media?
  • What percentage of your connections with other writers are in-person? What percentage are electronic or remote?

Does the group have clear purpose and goals?

  • Do the group’s purpose and goals align with your writing purpose and goals?
  • Is everyone in the group respected and encouraged to share their experience?
  • Can you find a mentor and/or be a mentor in the group?

How do you feel after connecting with your writing colleagues? 

  • Are you enthusiastic, engaged and excited about your writing?
  • Are you motivated and eager to get back to your writing?
  • Or are you left with a vague sense of dissatisfaction and discouragement?

What do you think after connecting with your writing colleagues? 

  • Do you have new ideas, perspectives and strategies?
  • Do you have a plan for your next steps?
  • Are you optimistic about your ability to respond to the changes and challenges you face?

Most importantly, what do you do after connecting with other writers?

  • What actions do you take?
  • What challenges are you more likely to embrace?
  • Are you more or less likely to take risks with your writing?
  • Is the time you spend with other writers worth the time you’re not focused and acting on your own writing projects?

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3 Comments on “Does Your Writer’s Group Contribute to Writer’s Block and Resistance?”

  1. Theresa July 24, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    Not only how do you find something like this, but how do you create something like this?

    I’m having trouble staying on focus and not being lazy, both in general. It’s hot, I sweat, I need to lose weight, writer’s block, blank-page-its, trivia, etc. Such a group would be really helpful.

    I took over an online Book In A Week group last year. Connected with another online group, it was pretty dormant. I haven’t been much help, but I’ve tried, and slowly things were beginning to look up for the group. Then Tuesday night, I signed on to find no one was doing the challenge. I got mad, and let them know it. Then I didn’t do any better, wrote zip last night and surfed instead. Trivia.

    Aside from the snippets, I’d like to build the group into something like this ideal. I don’t know how.



  2. Joel D Canfield July 8, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    I need to organize a writer’s group. The closest groups I can find are an hour away (in almost any direction.) The writing teacher at our local college doesn’t know of a local group.

    When I was writing music, I was part of a community and it made a huge difference, in part because I thought about all your questions above when I chose who to share with and listen to.



  1. Finding a Writer’s Group that Really Works | The Bane of Your Resistance - July 25, 2014

    […] response to a recent post about writer’s groups, Teresa commented that she connected with an online group, but when she signed on recently, she […]


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