In the course of my adult life I have tried to add interest to my life while learning something by joining a bunch of different groups. I first learned about the kinds of benefits an activity like this can bring into your life in high school, by taking dance classes with my sister. In later years I became more interested in writing, so while I did some experimenting and tried groups such as acting groups, singing groups, and dream interpretation groups, the most useful direction for me was to partake in a writers group.
In my experimentation, I grew a lot depending on the individual group and who was teaching it. I also tried out forming my own groups with my friends so we didn’t have to pay anything.
One of my first experiences with this was when I was in college and I attended a writers group that was an off branch of my course of study. I was a freshman and in my first ‘program’ as they called a particular educational course at my college. I saw that the teacher was great at leading but she also used a book a lot to get the exercises she used. When the group finished I continued using the book by myself and found that my writing continued to grow.
I graduated from college and moved to a city. I wanted to continue being in a writers group, but I wasn’t making much money at the time, so I decided maybe I should do it myself.
I made a list of people to ask and let them know I was forming a free group we would lead ourselves. I planned on having us meet at a café around the corner from my apartment, one time a week. I chose books we could pick exercises from and we were ready to go.
A few of us enjoyed this group for a year and a few months. We started out with many more people, but only three of us liked it so well we continued. Giving up an evening a week can seem like a lot, but to me it was very educational. I appreciated and learned from the feedback I was given by these women who became my close friends over time.
I had a great time every week. I started out just wanting feedback on my writing, but ended up with several close friends, plus a lot of growth in my comfort level with many types of writing.
I started several other self run groups later on, and it was from this first group that I saw how enjoyable and educational it could be to do something like this on your own. Plus it was free, and I ended up with several closer friends with similar interests to mine.