4 reasons you should join a writers' group

Emerging writer Sharon Overend says crafting your submission doesn’t have to be a lonely endeavour.
The winner and four finalists of the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize will have their stories published on CBC Books. (Thought Catalog on Unsplash)

Sharon Overend's short story Step Away was nominated for a Journey Prize for short fiction in 2014. November is National Novel Writing Month. To help you along the way, CBC Books has rounded up tips from writers across Canada.

Sharon Overend discusses her writing process in preparation for the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize, which runs until Oct. 31, 2017. (The Rights Factory)

Overend has found the company of other writers to be a vital part of her creative process. Here, she shares four ways group writing can improve your work. 

1. It helps you get out of your own head

Sharon says: "I recently moved up to Kawartha Lakes and didn't have a network anymore, so I joined a library in Lindsay, Ont. Through that, I met a couple of people and we decided to form a group because it's a tough business when you are in your head and by yourself."

2.  Feedback is faster in the flesh

Sharon says: "When we're working and writing and we've got something we're excited about, they are able to look at it right away. We also support each other when we're not writing. When life gets busy and complicated, sometimes it is tough to stick to it. But we're there for each other and try to figure strategies to help each other."

3. You'll get honest criticism

Sharon says: "We have a friendship bond and we are all there to be better writers. As long as criticism isn't personal and it's only exclusively about the writing. Who doesn't want to produce the best possible piece of work before you send it in somewhere?"

4. Others believe in your work, even when you don't

Sharon says: "I thought this is a little too edgy and then shared it with one of the other members and she said, 'No! I like it.' So I might have thrown it away, but she said 'I don't see why you can't work on it a little more.' The most important thing for a writer is pressing that 'Submit' button. You can write all you want, but if you don't share it and you don't get it out there, nothing is going to happen for sure!"

Sharon Overend's comments have been edited and condensed. 

Listen to Sharon Overend's complete interview on Ontario Morning:

Short story writer Sharon Overend talks about the importance of writers' groups. 6:25

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