Shelley Widhalm

Archive for the ‘Write-ins’ Category

The Benefits of Write-ins

In Write-ins, Writing, Writing Processes on February 22, 2015 at 11:00 am

Writing alone in that comfy spot has its advantages—routine, familiarity and comfort—but writing with others can spark the mind and the writing hand.

I belong to a couple of writing groups, Mountain View Authors, a critique group that meets every other week to evaluate the members’ novel and short story writing projects, and Northern Colorado Writers, a membership organization that offers classes, conferences and coffee chats for writers.

A write-in is a way to socialize the physical process of writing by giving you space and time to write with one or more people beside you. And it’s a way to add regularity to your writing schedule.

I’ve belonged to a couple of write-ins over the past two years, but those times I wasn’t part of such a group, I felt like something was missing. I, of course, already had my critique group, learned about writing through classes and workshops, read writers’ magazines, and spent time alone writing.

But belonging to a write-in, even with one other person (which is the case for me on a weekly basis at a local coffee shop) gives you more of a reason to show up for your writing, making you accountable for being there and doing the work.

When you have someone to write with, side by side, you have someone to motivate and encourage you as you make progress in your novel, short story, poetry collection or other writing project.

Here are some other benefits of write-ins:

  • You can ask grammar, writing and storytelling questions about anything from sentence structure to plot, character, setting or dialog.
  • You can check to see if what you wrote makes sense or if the dialog sounds like how people talk (it helps to read aloud what you wrote to see how your writing sounds).
  • You can show a section of your work and get comments about what you’ve written so far or the direction you’re heading with your story.
  • You can do speed contests to see how many words you can write in a certain period of time, such as 10 or 15 minutes.
  • You can do writing exercises to practice and get feedback on your spontaneous writing.
  • You can take a break and talk about writing or life.

And lastly, a write-in helps you stay on task. You shouldn’t be doing other things, avoiding the writing, because the other writers are writing. So, basically, you’re compelled and inspired to write.

See how my BFF Zoey the cute dachshund approaches write-ins in her version of dog-ins at