Elements of successful groups

Successful writing groups do the following three things:

  1. Create a shared purpose or vision.
  2. Set a structure that works for the members.
  3. Follow through.

These three bullets are painfully simple on the page and pretty universal to running any group. They are also annoyingly intangible. In my defense, I don’t think you expected a silver bullet like “bring apricot scones to each meeting”.

But seriously. Successful writing groups are intentional. They don’t run themselves, even with an energetic group leader or cool software to make it easier. Ultimately, individuals have to commit to the group and hold it accountable to its vision. Then the group can thrive.

Think of step 1 as what people want from the group. Step 2 deals with the bounds of reality—who, what, where, when and what is a realistic commitment. And step 3, follow through, is the ongoing work. The good news is that it really is easier to follow through when there’s alignment on 1 and 2. So let’s get started.