The answer is amazingly easy. The chapters doing well were taking advantage of their resources. They were taking advantage of every opportunity to bring in specialists to guide them through the process. Those groups who were struggling were simply trying to do it all on their own. They seemed to think that all it took was a good brain and they could work out the problems on their own.
It isn't going to work that way.
Take some time to look around your writing group. Are they really doing well? Are they making the advancements they said they wanted months or years ago? Are you all writing for the same publisher? This might tell you something!
Bringing in guest speakers is the best way to get that group moving and it doesn't take much! Even if your group want nothing to do with the traditional publishing system, speaking with editors and agents will give you an insight into the process as well as what the entire business looks like.
Now, I get that money always becomes an issue. It doesn't have to be that way. You can do this inexpensively. You just have to think. For example:
- Invite one person every three months. You don't need a panel of 8-10. Keep it simple. That will also give you a chance to worry about expenses.
- Invite locally. There are editors and agents all around the nation. Look around. I have always found it interesting that here in the Seattle area, there are big writing groups and yet, they always look to longer distances to getting the speakers (but then complain about expenses).
- Online workshops. Using things such as Yahoo groups or even Go-To-Meeting doesn't take much of a set up
- Guest blogging.
- SKYPE! I am a big proponent of this one. Not much of a set-up and it doesn't cost you anything. Just get a laptop and a projector. It's that easy.
It is easy!