Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lead Online Writing Groups with 12Writing

Are you ready to encourage fellow writers in an upbeat atmosphere?  Would you like a place to share your own work and receive feedback?  Looking for experience teaching a writing workshop?  Then consider joining 12Writing as a Writing Group Leader.

Becoming a Group Leader
12Writing: Expanding to Help More Writers
As a teacher, I am continually faced with the challenge of finding enough hours in the day. Unfortunately, I am not able to provide the writing help to as many students as I would like.  But I feel that every writer deserves feedback and support.  My own progress as a writer wouldn't have been possible without the encouragement of my many caring teachers and friends.  My goal is to pass this on to other beginning writers.

The Writing Group versus The Workshop: We Encourage More Writing
A writing workshop is an intensive form of writing group centered on close critique of student work.  To be truly successful, most workshops require the presence of a more experienced teacher who understands the deeper nuances of writing.  Unfortunately, not everyone has the time (or the inclination) to take part in this level of critique.

Our writing groups are meant as an intermediate stage between writing alone and taking part in a full-fledged workshop.  You will provide feedback on work by your fellow participants, but these comments need only be your brief initial reactions.  Simple advice along the lines of "I like the twist at the end" to "I'd like to know more about the protagonist's childhood" can provide a writer with good ideas for further development.

Overall, we simply want to encourage our fellow group members to read each others work and to keep writing.  Practice makes perfect, and the writing group is meant to inspire more practice.  To learn more about the role of writing in groups, see my article on Traditional vs Freewriting Workshops.

Benefits of Leading a Group with 12Writing

Although we are not offering any paid positions at this time, there are many intrinsic benefits to leading a writing group with 12Writing.  We aim to create a welcoming and productive atmosphere for all writers, and I believe that every group leader will develop a better sense of his or her role as both a writer and as a teacher.
Develop Your Skills as a Teacher
Although a writing group is not a full-fledged workshop, you'll still be providing the encouragement and coordination to ensure your group members are active participants.  These are crucial skills for teachers in all fields, and I'll provide feedback and suggestions to help you make the most of your experience.

Set the Tone for Your Group
Do you enjoy short stories?  Or would you prefer working with novelists?  Each writing group will be tailored to your interests.  You can chat with potential group members in advance to let them know the kind of group you'll be leading, and you'll be free to invite any friends you like.  We want each group leader to feel a personal investment in his or her group, and you to have the freedom to lead the kind of group that best fits your interests.

Receive Feedback on Your Writing
As a Writing Group Leader, you aren't just a leader, but also a member of the group.  You will be posting your own stories and poems alongside your fellow group members, and they'll be expected to comment on your work just as you comment on theirs.

Requirements of Writing Group Leaders

Although Goup Leaders are unpaid associates of 12Writing, each of you will be required to adhere to the following standards.  These standards are put in place to ensure that every participant has the opportunity to grow and develop as a writer.  Group Leaders (and other writing group participants) may be removed from the their groups for failure to uphold the following:
12Writing Is an Equal Opportunity Organization
We do not discriminate based on gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, or sexual preference.  All writing group participants are to treat fellow group members with dignity and respect.

We Provide Progressive, Supportive Feedback to Encourage Writers
Although some negative feedback is essential in a writer's growth, these writing groups are not the place to "perfect" a particular style.  Every writer deserves the freedom to experiment in a supportive atmosphere, and the emphasis for these groups is practice.  Although the writing groups are not full-fledged workshops, every Group Leader will ensure the groups are conducted according to the 12Writing Philosophy.

You'll Provide Weekly Updates on Your Group's Progress
I cannot be everywhere at once.  Although I'll "check in" on each group to see how things are going, I'll depend on your eyes to see how everyone's doing.  At least once a week, you'll e-mail or message me to say how the group seems to be going.  This is also a great time to ask any questions you might have and to request specific feedback on how to make your group more active.

Ready to Lead Your Writing Group?  Apply Now!

If you're up to the challenge of leading a group of writers, you'll first need to like our Fan Page.  Once you're a Fan, post on our wall to request a follow-up interview.  Tell me the type of writing group you'd like to lead with 12Writing, and what you feel are the most important aspects of a writing group.  Links to any writing websites you're currently part of are also helpful.

Depending on the quality of your post, I may contact you on Facebook with additional questions.  Mostly I'll be looking to learn more about your writing interests, the reasons you'd like to lead a writing group, and your long-term plans as a writer.
Provided your responses are thoughtful and timely, we'll go ahead and schedule an interview to be held via Facebook's instant messenger.  During the interview, I'll ask questions about your personal thoughts on writing and and teaching.

The final step will be your taking part in our Facebook Group for Writing Group Leaders (a beautifully redundant name, I know.)  This group will be geared toward providing a brief orientation to Facebook Groups and how we use them to share writing.  I'll also be checking to make sure you have the time and interest to lead a writing group.

Because our writing groups are Facebook-based, the entire application process will be conducted via Facebook.  Once you're approved as a group leader, I'll send you my e-mail and phone number so that you can contact me directly whenever you need.  Plus, the Group Leaders Group will remain active, so you can always post advice and questions for incoming and experienced Group Leaders.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.  You can post a comment below or, better still, post on our wall at Facebook.com/12Writing.

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