Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Slice of Life: Looking forward to a writing group

Every Tuesday, the writing community of Two Writing Teachers hosts Slice of Life. All are welcome to participate by linking up posts or commenting on other participants. 

I'm looking forward to tomorrow night when I will have my first official writing group with a special group of students. We met a month ago to talk about the idea of a young people's writing group, and they were all so enthusiastic and excited about it. On the eve of our first real workshop, the seven of them--ages ten to thirteen--have shared their work on google drive and are reading each other's work with the intent of participating in our critique group tomorrow night at the town library. 

I have been thinking about the agreements we made a month ago at our introductory meeting, and I have written those agreements to hand out to my young writers tomorrow night. I have also just written up some important reminders as they plunge into the world of critique groups. If anyone out there has some additional ideas or suggestions to offer before these are official for my Young People's Writing Group, please share! Also, if anyone has any experience with running writing groups for this age group and can offer some tips, please do!

Here's what I have at this point:

Writing Group Agreements


  1. We will meet at 6:00 on Monday evenings once a month. We will plan to meet for an hour and fifteen minutes.
  2. We will divide into two groups, and the groups will be determined by Melanie a few days before we meet, based on the content of the writing.
  3. Please share your piece with your group members 48 hours before we meet so that they have time to read your work.
  4. We will have a 10-15 minute craft lesson before beginning workshopping each other. Topics will vary and suggestions are welcome.
  5. Read the work of others in your group and come prepared to talk about it.
  6. Each person will have their piece workshopped for 10-15 minutes, depending on how many people are in attendance.
  7. When your work is being discussed, you remain quiet--just listen! You will have an opportunity to speak during the final 2-3 minutes of your turn.

Important reminders

  1. When deciding between a smart comment and a kind comment, choose the kind one.
  2. Be sure to balance feedback with compliments.
  3. Monitor how much you are talking and how much you are listening. Speak enough so that people listen and listen enough so that people speak.

And now I'm off to read what's been shared so that I am in compliance with #4!

Happy Writing!


  1. Hi Melanie,

    What a wonderful opportunity you are giving these young writers. Author Gae Polisner ran a young writers group that included some of my students. If you need any tips you may want to reach out to her! I know she would be happy to share ideas/advice!

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