Running an Effective Writing Group

Graduate Student Resource Center

Tips for Successful Writing Groups—A blog post written by Chris Golde who works in the Graduate Education office at Stanford University. The post offers concise guidelines for setting expectations, developing ground rules, using time effectively, building trust, giving feedback, and dealing with other common challenges. 

Making a Thesis or Dissertation Support Group Work for You [pdf]—From the Horace H. Rockham School for Graduate Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Advice drawn from dissertation-writing advice books and from a focus group of doctoral students with experience in writing groups. The article suggests answers to common questions about forming and running a writing group. It includes advice for groups focused on the writing process and for those focused on the content of the thesis or dissertation.

Resources for Writing Groups—From UNC Chapel Hill. Includes guidelines for giving and receiving feedback, creative activities for writing groups to do, and a collection of worksheets to help groups get started (see “Writing Groups Starter Kit”).

Google Groups—A useful tool for managing discussions and sharing files.

Belcher, W. L. (2009). Writing your journal article in twelve weeks: A guide to academic publishing success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Belcher advises students to form writing partnerships or groups in order to increase their motivation and productivity. She recommends making a written commitment to the partner or group and provides a sample form [pdf] on her website. Her book contains numerous exercises, many of which can be used to elicit specific feedback from writing partners. The “Week 9” chapter (pp. 221­-233), which gives detailed advice about giving and receiving feedback, includes a feedback form and a step-by-step process for sharing immediate feedback (pp. 229-230).

Silvia, Paul (2007). How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. American Psychological Association.

This page was created by Allison Crumly. To suggest a resource or report a broken link, email the GWC at