A Systematic Approach to Graduate Writing Groups: Facilitator, First Meeting, and Feedback Structure
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Scholarship on writing groups has long documented the benefits that grow from writers meeting regularly to share feedback, gain accountability, and encourage one another. However, some groups flounder and some flourish, and little research exists on the reasons for such failures or successes. This leaves few resources for writing group facilitators attempting to create bonds among group members, keep members on task, create accountability, counter absenteeism, and the like. The present article explains how the author, a graduate writing group facilitator struggling with these issues, drew from survey data taken from group participants and interviews with facilitators to create a systematic approach to writing group facilitation in order to improve group functioning. This new approach revealed three main factors upon which graduate groups’ success hinges: 1) the role of the group’s facilitator 2) the group’s first meeting, and 3) the group’s workshopping/feedback structure. All three factors are explored and recommendations are given for improving in each area.