Canada Writes

4 reasons you should join a writers' group

Canadian writer Sharon Overend says crafting your CBC Literary Prize submission doesn’t have to be a lonely endeavour.

The 2022 CBC Nonfiction Prize is now open for submissions until Feb. 28, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. ET

Canadian writer Sharon Overend says crafting your submission doesn’t have to be a lonely endeavour. (Thought Catalog on Unsplash)

Toronto-based author and poet Sharon Overend has found the company of other writers to be a vital part of her creative process.

Thinking about entering the CBC Nonfiction Prize? The 2022 edition of the annual prize is now open for submissions until Feb. 28, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

The winner will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have the opportunity to attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and have their work published on CBC Books.

Here, Overend shares four ways group writing can foster a sense of community and improve your work.

Sharon Overend is a Toronto-based writer. (The Rights Factory)

1. It helps you get out of your own head

"I recently moved up to Kawartha Lakes in Ontario and didn't have a network anymore, so I joined a library. 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

"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

"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

"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 for length and clarity.

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