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0. First, let me address some questions people have asked. This is a writing group, not a critiquing group. You don't need to distribute work ahead of time or do any homework. You can write anything you want; there is no preferred genre or style. You can come as frequently or infrequently as you wish. You can RSVP or not, show or not. We do not charge, we do not judge.
1. We now allow RSVPs, but they are optional. For some reason the Boston community seems to prefer the use of RSVPs. But I still want to remove any pressure. Therefore, I'll open up the ability to RSVP but it's nonbinding and purely optional. RSVP if you like, don't if you prefer not to. Feel free to attend or not -- regardless of your RSVP. And don't worry, you won't get penalized as a "no-show" if you don't make it. However, please don't bother RSVP'ing "no" -- it just deluges me with emails.
If you suddenly feel like writing 3 minutes before the meeting (and are very very fast on your bicycle), just show up with pen and paper. If you RSVP'ed and find true love 3 minutes before the meeting, I suggest skipping the group and picking lifelong happiness (unless he/she is on their way to the meeting too, of course).
2. The format of the (standard) meetings has coalesced into a somewhat stable shape. We write for 1 hr 15 min (which seems the optimal time from experience). Then we introduce ourselves (even if some of us are familiar faces). Whoever wishes to then reads. Unless there are many readers and time is an issue, you can read anything you wrote (or edited) at that meeting. If you want to read something else, then usually that's fine -- just keep it to a reasonable length. Each reader may indicate whether or not they would like comments. The rule for comments is that the reader cannot respond to them. After everyone has read, we socialize a bit. If there is interest, some of us may grab a bite or continue to chat in a nearby cafe.
Note: Because we used an email list to manage this group until recently, the first few meetups show only 1 attendee (me). For those who are curious, we averaged 4-6 per meeting.
Modified Original Description: This is a shameless copy of my favorite New York writing group. The idea is simple: write a bit, optionally read, and possibly grab a bite afterward. No cost, no strings, no commitment, and all are welcome. Each meeting will start with around one hour of writing anything you like. Then, after brief introductions, anyone who wishes may read what they wrote. If there is interest, some of us may grab dinner afterward. Although you have to sign up for the group, there is no cost, optional (and non-committal) RSVPing, and no attendance limit. We'll simply announce our meetings, and you can do as you please. Stay on the list as long as you wish, come as little or as much as you like, stay only for writing or reading, etc. You can choose to always read, never read, read on prime days ... there's no pressure. Ideally, we'll meet once every week or two. All types of writing are welcome. In the NY group, people wrote stories, poems, screenplays, journal entries, pieces of novels, memoirs, and essays. One even wrote computer code (fortunately he never read it :) The group should be thought of as a safe place for writers to come together, and hopefully it will spawn collaborations, friendships, and some interesting work.