Established Non-Fiction Writing Group Seeks Writers

Pete Magee
February 7, 2021

Our non-fiction writing group would like to add some new members who would enjoy a monthly discussion involving critiques of one another’s writing, discussion of one another’s pieces, and positive encouragement to keep writing.  The encouragement includes occasional treats, funny stories, comfort and sympathy, and great friendship. Over the years our ages have varied from the 20s to the 80s, our genders have been diverse, and our shared devotion to writing has made us a warm community. We hope to increase our diversity as we welcome new writers.

Group History: Core members met in a Loft memoir class in 2007. All of our writers have worked on nonfiction essays/narratives. We’ve had a number of members who have moved on. We’ve found eight members a good number for our model and currently have seven but would welcome one or two more.  Four members have published books they worked on in our writer’s group, but not all members have a primary goal of publishing.

Logistics: We meet monthly, pre-pandemic and post-pandemic (hopefully) at the Loft building in the book group room, currently on Zoom. We plan to return to in-person meetings when it’s safe. Currently we meet on the 4th Monday of each month, but meeting day can change with consensus.  Meeting time: 12-2 pm. Three people present pieces of approximately 2500 words or 10 pages each for the two-hour meeting, Each member presents at least three times a year. The pages are emailed to group members a week ahead of the meeting, giving time for critique/suggestions.  Pages are marked up with comments to be given to the writer after the meeting. Each member shares essential comments on the presenter’s pages at the meeting.

Expectations of Members: Feedback is constructive and based on a careful and thoughtful consideration of the piece. Conversation is about the writing more than the subject/content. Is the intent of the author clear? Is the subject matter organized well? What resonates with the reader? What makes the writing more difficult to understand? Does the piece flow well? What is the writer’s goal for the piece? Is the piece on track for the writer’s goals? Edit suggestions are less-often line-edits and generally more global observations. We ask that members who must miss a meeting provide notice a week in advance; their comments on the draft pages are mailed to the writers. It helps readers when writers ask for the kind of feedback especially important to them for a particular piece. Writing is treated with confidentiality, not shared outside the group.

Members’ Projects: Current members are writing memoir/legacy narratives. One member is writing a memoir about her great uncle, based on his letters home from WWII, family history, her own observations, and historic research.  Past and current members have written about transitioning gender identity, confronting a broken health care system with a mentally ill family member, dealing with a parent’s suicide, various family-of-origin topics, coming of age, and social/cultural concerns as they relate to their own life choices. It may also be helpful to know that our current members are all over 60 years old. We welcome and have had younger members.

New member qualifications: Non-fiction writers with some experience editing their own work, capable of and comfortable providing constructive feedback to other group members. Available during the 12-2 timeframe for meeting.  The group will choose new members based on applicants whose work fits our overall expertise and whose projects lend themselves best to our process.

 Contact person: Krista Westendorp (