The idea of writing groups goes back centuries—thousands of years, if you count the Socrates School. Plenty of people, including famous writers like Virginia Woolf, EM Forster, and C.S. Lewis have had writers groups.
Why? Because even in an activity as individual as writing, sometimes we need to get out of our own heads. With groups, we can talk shop, encourage one another and share objective feedback. We see new paths and feel inspired to try new things. And sometimes, we all need a gentle kick in the pants.
This is true for many creative pursuits, from writing, philosophy to art and even science, as this TED talk illustrates.
The Socrates School was a group of thinkers around 400 BC including Socrates and his students Plato and Xenophon who asked big questions about life and made important contributions to Western philosophy and ethics. Socrates dedicated his life to teaching. Read More
The Bloomsbury Group included Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster and John Maynard Keynes. They were a group of writers, artists and intellectuals who lived or worked near Bloomsbury, London and met informally to share and discuss ideas. Read More
The Dymock Poets were a group of poets including Robert Frost and Rupert Brooke who lived in the English village of Dymock. These poets met in the early 1900’s and even published their own quarterly called ‘New Numbers’. Read More
The Algonquin Roundtable was a group of New York City playwrights, actors, critics and comedians including Harpo Marx, George Kaufman and Dorothy Parker who met for lunch at the Algonquin Hotel from 1919 to 1929. Read More
The Inklings were a literary group in England that especially encouraged fantasy writing. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were notable members. I loved these two as a child and still do. Read More
Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald were among the famous writers who comprised Stratford-on-Odeon. The group was so named after the bookshop they frequented called Shakespeare and Company and which James Joyce coined “Stratford-on-Odeon”. Their meeting place was destroyed during World War II. Read More
The Factory was so named for Andy Warhol’s studio space in New York City. It was a meeting place of artists, writers and musicians, including Truman Capote, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and Salvador Dali. It became famous for its raucous parties. Read More
El Floridita was a bar outside Havana so often frequented by Ernest Hemingway in his post-Paris life that the owners gave him his own stool. Reportedly, the stool remains empty in his honor to this day. Check out this article to learn more about some of the famed literary bars.