Write your book
Want to write a non-fiction book?
Struggling with ideas, structure or style?
Looking for feedback or help with your writing?
Writing is an isolating job – especially writing a book
To write effectively, most of us need to cut ourselves off … but doing so risks not knowing whether our ideas and writing are any good.
Will people be interested in what we have written?
And will they understand and enjoy it enough to want to buy it?
Being part of a writing group – I provide coaching to people writing non-fiction – can provide a bridge between the isolation of writing and the D-Day of ‘going public’, when you launch your book.
A writing group can provide you with ideas as you write, and guide you towards writing and publishing a successful non-fiction book. As the author Stephen King said:
Write with the doors closed. Edit with doors open.
(i.e. get the views of others)
Meet with others writing non-fiction books
A writers’ group can be a place for you to get feedback, support and guidance from other writers. (Don't rely on friends and family – who often lack the experience, knowledge or time to help.)
Get the advice and support of other writers.
Like you, they are committed to writing. And they are more likely to have the interest, inclination and ideas for providing you with effective comments and support.
A writing group can be a place for you to get answers to questions such as: Am I on the right track? How do I overcome my challenges? It can also be a place to:
- Talk through your writing goals
- Obtain feedback on your drafts
- Get the support, advice and inspiration of other writers
- Learn writing tips from professional and award-winning writers
- Receive detailed edits and feedback (from me, an accredited editor and proofreader with the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading).
Join a writing group
If you are interested, I run two Groups of Oxford Writers (GROW), for people who are writing non-fiction books. To them, I provide book coaching from the initial planning stages of a book – dealing with structure, format and writing style – through to its production, launch and marketing.
To ensure the writing groups are effective, they are limited to 6–8 members.
Format – Before each meeting, members share a few pages/chapter of their writing. At the meeting, we discuss each contribution in turn – spending around 30–45 minutes on each person’s text. Members give one another considered feedback, their reactions, likes and dislikes – and possible suggestions for improvement. So, your text is considered and discussed in a supportive environment. And after each meeting, all members get an email from me with detailed edits, follow-up notes, etc.
Robert's constructive criticism and enthusiasm has helped me
I joined Robert's writing group to improve my writing skills. His
constructive criticism and enthusiasm has helped me enormously to maintain
my momentum and to bring a fresh perspective to the book.
Venue – The format, content and frequency of meetings is led by writers’ availability etc. Most groups meet for 2–3 hours, every 2–3 months. Groups have sometimes used cafes in Oxford, but people found the meetings more effective when at my house (in West Oxford). This enabled more focussed discussions – Around a table – Fewer disturbances – Reliably good coffee/tea, with cake/biscuits.
Specialist speakers – Several times a year I arrange for speakers to talk on topics of people’s choice – e.g. Storytelling techniques in non-fiction, Researching and planning a book, How to market your book, etc. These meetings are sometimes held online (using Zoom), so as to draw on specialist speakers from further afield.
There are also social gatherings in the Summer and at Christmas time.
Costs – Depending on your group's size, meetings are £35–£50 each including VAT. This includes detailed feedback from me on your work, introductions to relevant contacts in the industry, payment for speakers ... plus hosting and refreshments.
Write and publish your book – One of my groups has been meeting for 6+ years. During this time, four of the six members have completed and published at least one non-fiction book … and are now writing their second and third books.
Stimulating and helpful
I find Robert's small writing group both stimulating and helpful. The meeting process generates constructive comment and criticism ... Robert adds to this through his experience in both writing and publishing.