Why I’m Not Interested in Your Facebook Writing Group

I’ve tried. I give up.

Writing is itself a solitary process. But a writer simply cannot succeed on their own.

It’s not about a lack of talent or drive, but rather, a necessity to both collaborate and compete with other writers – if you want to advance your skills/career/following, that is.

I’ve had all kinds of experiences when it comes to both collaboration and competition. My creative writing critique group in college was one of the most helpful and most daunting experiences I’ve had working with other writers.

I’ve also joined – and left – a number of writing-related Facebook groups and other online forums.

Part of the reason is because I’m not a huge fan of self-promotion – at least, not in the sense that I need to join a Facebook group just to share my work with other people. I’m all about organic readership. (Small blogs for the win!)

There are both benefits and drawbacks to “being part of a writing community.” Unfortunately, I’ve personally found that, in trying to create my own online community of writers (hello!), the majority of people aren’t interested in participating if they don’t get to promote themselves.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with promotion. I guest post on a few blogs every now and then in hopes it will guide some new readers here (it doesn’t). But I enjoy sharing my writing solely for the purpose of sharing it – most of the time, I don’t expect to gain anything. I like to start and engage in conversations about writing. It’s important to me.

Which is why I’m growing more and more tired of writing groups – not because [most of] the people aren’t nice or that they don’t mean well, but because writing groups and the people in them have never helped me. They have only ever distracted or criticized me. (Several times I have shared blog posts, and most people felt the need to point out every flaw without any positive feedback – encouraging.)

I’ve found Facebook in general to be a very toxic place. It’s not really a place I have ever felt welcomed or appreciated as a writer. I use it to let those who want to follow me see what I’m up to – personally for friends and professionally for my followers. But Novelty’s FB page gets next to no engagement, and paying to promote posts has always proven to be a waste of money for me. No thank you.

Facebook groups distract me in the sense that I always feel worse about myself after spending too much time in them. That’s just me. I’m just not very good at relating to even people of “my own kind,” I guess. I’ve tried to be social. I give up. WordPress is nice. WordPress is friendly. Maybe you’ve had better luck than me out there in the social abyss.

Are you part of any Facebook groups? How have they benefited you as a writer? Am I just being a caffeine-deprived cranky person? (Side note: I was going to use the term “crankster” here, but have learned to always look these things up on Urban Dictionary before I make stuff up. Good choice.)

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

8 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Interested in Your Facebook Writing Group

  1. I am a part of many groups, most of which a car/truck related, but a handful are blog related. I have never joined a writing group, simply because of what you have stated.
    My blogger groups have helped me in the fact that I have gained some knowledge and wisdom on how to promote and grow my blog. My car groups make me feel good, because I get to see pictures and read stories about something I love.
    All in all, you and another blog site have been my inspiration for writing, which hasn’t stopped, just become much more private.

    1. You make a really good point about joining specific writing niche groups – it helps when a blog has a very specific interest, which makes it much easier and makes more sense to share ideas and stories, etc. :) I’m really glad this blog has been able to help you keep up with your writing. Good to know!

  2. The best Facebook writing group I’m in is for local writers (or writers who were once connected to Colorado, I suppose). Its primary purpose is to ask writerly questions, participate in sprints, and to apprise one another of events. The admins are VERY strict about the “no promo” rule. They delete posts and kick out repeat offenders.

    1. Yeah I am also a member of a few local groups. I appreciate the ones that dedicate one day a week and one thread for promoting – because there’s nothing wrong with sharing your work. It just shouldn’t be every five minutes every day, haha.

  3. Online groups are tricky. The internet in general suffers from a lack of culpability, mixed with how anonymity often translates into a license to be rude.

    I think one of the virtues of a system like WordPress is that we each have our own space, and within that space “I’m in charge”. Others may join as guests, but there’s a clear leader, or small group, who are defining the rules and conventions of that space.

    I think that role often meanders between “teacher” and “host”, but it provides a certain consistency and order.
    In contrast places like Facebook are more of a hodgepodge of views and conventions, where at least dozens of people are all trying to grab the microphone and say their piece.

    Even in person, writers’ groups can be tricky, but a clear host keeps things consistent, which helps people decide whether a specific group is a good fit for them.

    1. Great points here. It’s true, I always felt uncomfortable in critique workshops when there was a group of four people and everyone wanted to be the leader.

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