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  • Finding Your Feet
    by Mand245 at 15:01 on 09 January 2014
    I'm sorry to see that the Beginners group (among others) has disappeared since I was last on the site. One of the problems with the group (as I recall) was that a lot of new and trial members, as well as beginners, ended up there, mainly because they didn't know which groups to join, or were slightly nervous about joining existing groups before they were comfortable on the site.

    I wondered if it might be useful to start a "Finding your feet" or "Newbies" group. This could be a good starting point for members new to the site, new to writing, or maybe members with new work that didn't really fit into any other group. It would perhaps also provide  a good forum to explain site etiquette and give pointers for critiquing because, I do believe, one of the reasons some people do not reciprocate with critiques, or leave one line observations, is that they just don't know how to go about critiquing work. I think this is particularly true of people new to writing who might lack a little confidence.

    What do other members think? I would be happy to host such a group if other members would be willing to drop by from time to time to help out. I think it could prove a useful staging post for members while they find their way around the site or build confidence to join existing groups (because I'm sure I can't be the only one who found it very intimidating to do this in my early days on the site)..

    Anyone any thoughts on this?

  • Re: Finding Your Feet
    by Anna Reynolds at 15:07 on 09 January 2014
    Think this is a very good suggestion- and I'd be happy to drop by and say hi and stuff and add twopennyworth if it helped. It was a very lively group at one point I remember- but then everyone moved on at same time to other groups, and getting their work out etc, and it sort of never quite worked after that. Maybe a new name/approach/group photo would work? And definitely think some critiqueing guidelines would be useful here because people may well never have done it before. At all.
  • Re: Finding Your Feet
    by Mand245 at 15:35 on 09 January 2014
    I think the reason the group died was very straight forward. When I joined in March 2009 there was a large group of very keen and active beginners who, after six months or so, all wanted to move onto other things. By that point the site expert (who had really helped people find their feet and given them the confidence to move around the site) had left the group, so the original bunch of beginners suddenly found they were spending a lot of time trying to help more beginners, even though they lacked experience to do so. Also a lot of trial members were being directed to the group, which many of the existing members felt to be unfair, particularly as a lot of these trial members would post work, expect critiques and then leave the site without giving anything back.

    I think, if we do start such a group, it should have a slightly broader remit than "beginners", which is why I thought it might also be good for new members, and for those that want to post work that isn't really covered by the existing groups, because this would keep it fresh and hopefully bring some more experienced members into the group.

    The problem with such a group (as was discussed several times on various forums) was that it depended heavily on one or more members to keep it running, and needed members who had the time and inclination to encourage and help new members, when that's not really why they had joined the site. A lot of members gave very generously of their time and experience but, after a time, this often meant that they felt put upon or just quietly left the group and (reasonably) moved on to other things.

    I really don't think a "beginners" group can really last and be successful unless there are more experienced members to steer things along, but I do think it is helpful to have a group that caters to beginners and newcomers. This site (like anything new) really can be very daunting when one first joins.

    When I joined, the beginners group was vibrant and great fun and provided a very welcoming gateway to the rest of the site.

    If anyone can think of a really good group name and description, and a couple more people would be willing to help out (maybe joining the group until it gets up and running), then I would be happy to have a go at hosting such a group.

  • Re: Finding Your Feet
    by david bruce at 16:53 on 09 January 2014
    Hi Mand - thanks, I think this would be great. Can I suggest we set the group up for now as a 'proposal' and see where we get with it? I'm sure with Anna helping out that will be a good start to get it off the ground and it would be good to have a place for newbies. Is "Finding Your Feet" an idea for a title?
  • Re: Finding Your Feet
    by EmmaD at 16:53 on 09 January 2014
    Mand, that's such a good idea - and yes, some distinction between "beginners at writing" and "beginners at WriteWords" might be useful!

    There was an "Introduce your work" forum, which didn't really work, I think - newbies posted work there, when of course things tend not to get read unless they're in a group.

    How about a group called "New To WriteWords"

    "A group for members new to the site and/or new to writing, supporting and encouraging each other to make the most of WriteWords and all its members."


    Crossed with David - I like Finding Your Feet - but maybe the title should have "writewords" in it?

    WriteWords Newcomers
    FInding Your Feet On WriteWords
    Edited by EmmaD at 16:54:00 on 09 January 2014
  • Re: Finding Your Feet
    by NMott at 19:53 on 09 January 2014

    ....a lot of these trial members would post work, expect critiques and then leave the site without giving anything back.

    Most most writers forums and most WW groups suffer from that so I think that will happen regardless.
    I'm happy to help out as I'm not intending to post any work so I've no expectations of reciprocal feedback.
  • Re: Finding Your Feet
    by Mand245 at 07:29 on 10 January 2014
    I've taken the plunge and proposed the group. The title and/or group description might need tweaking later, but at least this gets things started. I do hope other members will join, even if only on a temporary basis, so we can get the group live and functioning! Thanks!
  • Re: Finding Your Feet
    by Account Closed at 09:00 on 10 January 2014
    I'll join to get it up-and-running.
  • Re: Finding Your Feet
    by Catkin at 10:25 on 10 January 2014
    Yes, I'll help out by joining it. I'm not going to do any more critiques, though, because I'm struggling to keep up with the groups I'm in already.
  • Re: Finding Your Feet
    by Freebird at 12:21 on 10 January 2014
    I think that's a very good idea. I'd be happy to drop in and welcome people or comment on work from time to time
  • Re: Finding Your Feet
    by Anna Reynolds at 15:54 on 10 January 2014
    Have just joined so should be a quorum now?
    any ideas about critiquing guidelines or helpful suggestions, should we call them? 
    Thanks again Mand.
  • Re: Finding Your Feet
    by Mand245 at 16:38 on 10 January 2014
    Thanks, Anna - looks like the group is live now!

    Over the weekend I'll have a go at putting together some general guidelines for members new to critiquing. I'll try to post it on Sunday and then maybe other group members could cast an eye over it and suggest additions or deletions.
  • Re: Finding Your Feet
    by Annecdotist at 17:42 on 10 January 2014
    Perhaps hijacking the wrong thread and not for the first time but I'm relatively new to writewords but not new to writing or critiquing, but still haven't got my head round groups versus forums (fora). I joined two groups but, in contrast to the fora, they've not been terribly active and I'm curious really at what proportion of members actually take part in groups. I know critiquing is very time consuming but it seems people put a lot of thought and energy into the discussion threads, so it can't just be that. I'm wondering if a lot of members don't really use the site for feedback on their work and have other outlets for that?
    Or just tell me if I've got it all wrong?
    Good luck with the new group, anyway
  • Re: Finding Your Feet
    by Account Closed at 18:02 on 10 January 2014
    At the start of my current novel, I posted a few chapters to get feedback but found that once I was into the novel I didn't participate in the groups so much (apart from FFD), but I could come into the forums for a break and a 'natter'.

    If I'm editing, I feel I have more 'headspace' to critique, so I'm happy to do more in the groups. At this stage, I have other things I need advice on, such as my synopsis or the pitch I am using in the submission letter.

    So I think it is swings and roundabouts for me. I want to participate in the groups but this depends on pressure of work and writing, whereas the forums are a good place for Q&As, short reads and chatting.
  • Re: Finding Your Feet
    by Alex29 at 18:33 on 10 January 2014
    Hi  I haven't posted work as I haven't quite got anything ready and when I first joined a couple of years ago I guess now (Though I still think I am new to it all)  it was awful trying to work out what was going on- for a start most of the work posted was several chapters into the work and I floundered trying to go back read it all and rapidly gave up plus the beginners group was already dead as was the history one and others I was interested in were very quiet. Other members were and are always helpful though and I can understand how annoying it might be having new members who may be new to WW , writing and computers in general. I have got used to 'chatting' in the Forum  now and to the feel of the site and I appreciate now how much work goes into the writing that is posted and long ago gave up the 'that's nice' comments in the few groups I still belong to . I hope I will be able to post something soon and at that point will have a sensible amount of time to read and crit others work, meanwhile I considered dropping all groups as I can't contribute much but then I can't read  work or comments( Well I couldn't before that may have changed) and without that lurking I wouldn't have any idea what was expected though I usually say if I have read something. I am slightly off put again by mention else where of 100 word crits. Not the particular number but more just that the restriction is irritating though I understand the principle/ idea behind it and will give it a go. however 100 words of novice crit may not be that useful to any one particularly another novice writer. I can see what you all mean though about Beginners groups not lasting as folk move on, I hadn't thought of that, it is quite difficult to organise all these layers within this site. I certainly don't have other outlets for my writing for crit there are no groups that I have found in my area at all, I don't use other Internet sites- I have enough trouble learning this one- and indeed only collared an 'actual author' to speak to face to face for the first time in the Autumn at the poor woman's book launch!  I'm just more Tortoise than Hare .MC
    Edited by Alex29 at 18:40:00 on 10 January 2014
  • This 28 message thread spans 2 pages: 1  2  > >