Well, I reached out to a few people I know from various writing groups to see if any of them are still functional. And then I came across Scribophile which seems like a decent online group to start with, at least for now. I’m looking to get my feet wet in writing fiction again, so I have to start somewhere. It allows you to have up to two works posted at once, and up to 40 PMs. I suppose if it turns out to be worth it, I could opt for the Premium membership at $7/month. I used to pay about $25 a month I think for an old group I was part of, back in the day. I also signed up for Critique Circle, we’ll see where that gets me, between the two. I have a few stories I can upload as “tests” that well, I don’t care much about, as I don’t intend to actually publish them. I need to tweak them a bit, but it would give me a good start for some responses/samples. I heard back from one of my old contacts, but she didn’t have any writing groups around. She did remind me of the monthly Capital Crime Writers stuff, something I had forgotten about (I just rejoined), and there are other ones too — the Storytelling group, Ottawa Independent Writers, Ottawa Writers’ Circle, etc. I guess I will likely have to revisit that option if I’m going to get back into the writing game.
For the online reading clubs, I like the idea of a reading challenge, but I’m not totally sold on what it might be. GirlXOXO has a master list of reading challenges for 2022, and I worked my way through some of those tonight, looking to see if anything leapt out at me with both a challenge and a forum where you can talk about what you are reading. I eliminated those that either didn’t entice me by the category, didn’t have an online group, were way too many books for the challenge, or had way too many members in the discussion area (I’m not looking for comments by firehose!).
Ruh roh. There were WAY too many that sounded interesting but had WAY too many books for them, or were more checkbox links, not any sort of discussion group. I settled on a handful to try.
Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge. A book for each letter of the alphabet, only 500 members. Posts are not very detailed about the books, more check-boxes than much prose about the content.
Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge. No set books, more about numbers, but hopefully will generate some good suggestions. Only 154 members.
Classics Reading Challenge by Tea and Ink Society. Bigger group, but smaller list of challenges, might not be what I want. Found it through StoryGraph.
Cozy Mystery Reading Challenge. Similarly, a set of good prompts and a decently active FaceBook Group, plus tracking of progress (if I want) through StoryGraph.
And what the heck, I’ll try joining a more traditional book club with specific books each month with the Cozy Mysteries Once a Month Book Club. Fingers crossed.
Five isn’t a terrible start, I suppose, hopefully at least one will give me a bit of reading interaction. Or at least a chance to peruse their old messages to see what the chats are like. I tried one that sounded great but it was full of spam — and not book spam, just random worthless stuff. I think the moderator / admin must be asleep in that group.