How to Make the Most out of Lit Groups

8 min read

Deviation Actions

TheMaidenInBlack's avatar
Community Week

..and stay active! Which we all know isn't always easy.
with a side of "submission rules, those tricksies"

Now, first of all: this article assumes a lot of stuff! 

  • you're interested in writing and/or reading.
  • you're not joining thousands of groups just to submit your stuff all over the place to get exposure but give nothing back.
  • you're not simply following groups to stay up-to-date on their events and news, without really wanting to participate in their life.

And with that off of our systems, let's start the tour!

First of all, remember this: Lit groups take a lot more effort than any other. This is because, obviously, reading through deviations takes more time than viewing pictures and photographs.

So let's create a fictional situation.

I know there are people who are on deviantART multiple times a day, but let's suppose that you're an average user who logs in once a day, and has thirty minutes to an hour of free time to devote to dA. And when you log in to find a stack of 10 deviations in your inbox, from every group you watch and that's, let's say, five total, that's astounding.  Fifty deviations to go through, fifty works that could be super short but also super long, on top of the stuff from the people you watch! Just getting rid of those and commenting on everything would take up most, if not all, of the free time you have! Noes!

"So what can I do?!", you ask yourself, and remove the deviation messages from your inbox because you don't think you can keep up with it. But that's just a shame, isn't it? We learn so much as writers just by reading, and let's not forget that you joined those groups to benefit from them. How can you expect to make the most out of your experience in them if you don't take advantage of what they offer?

Well, one simple thing you can do is choosing: of all the group deviations you have, choose a few and read those, then leave a comment/critique. For example: out of every stack of ten, commit to commenting on three. You'll say "wow, only three? What about the other seven?" Well, if every deviant who was member of a group did the same thing, instead of just deleting the deviations from their inbox, all those deviations would surely get some comments and/or views. 

Group activities, the easiest way to get involved

A very important thing to remember is this: participating in group activities is fun! Seriously, guys, you're here because you love writing, or reading, or both. And even if those activities involve writing, and you're not a writer, so what? Believe me, I know plenty of deviants who are not on dA to write, but will take up the challenge just for fun. 

So when a blog post comes out with a writing prompt or a challenge of any kind... don't let it pass! Give it a read. The most important thing to remember is that not being the best is okay. Hell, I've been on dA, writing, for almost six years now and I've never gotten a daily deviation on my literature; I'm not one of those famous deviants everyone looks up to, my writing isn't spectacular, I haven't done anything specific that will be remembered if I left today. But that isn't important. Participation is important because of the improvement as a writer that you can get out of the experience, the being out of your comfort zone and having your limits pushed a little more every day.

I used to be afraid of participating in contests/challenges because I felt I wasn't good enough for them. But people don't judge you, you're the only judge of yourself around here, and trust me as a group admin - we LOVE it when people take part in our projects! It's so rewarding. So take the opportunities that we give you. 

Suggestion: many people have a smartphone nowadays, and in absence of that everyone can carry a small notebook with them. Write down the guidelines of the prompts/challenges, and when you find yourself on a train/bus ride, or having a moment during which you're just waiting there, get those out and start creating. Or on your smartphone, bookmark the pages for easy reference!

And if you don't want to write and you're simply a reader, there are plenty of things you can still do! Like spreading the word about what's going on, reading the entries for the challenges that are posted, or simply supporting the journals with a favourite. Which is already a great thing to do! 
(a small side note here: everyone should have a folder in their Favourites for "Blog/Journal Favourites", so your main Favourites don't get confused with journals. And everyone should support their groups by favouriting their articles. The more favourites, the more likely the journal is to make it into the popular ones, the more people will read it. It's that simple and a favourite costs you nothing!)

There are also book clubs. CRLiterature has a monthly one, with updates throughout the month, it's great!

Chat events, the greatest instrument to make friends and get some real-time practice

A lot of groups host these, and they are amazing. :D (Big Grin) I don't think enough deviants know about chatrooms and deviantART, maybe because they were more popular in the past? I really don't know the reason why, but I used to see many more people in chatroom events than I do now and that's such a shame.

For those of you who don't know, deviantART does have a chatroom networkAnd what is it? Well, it's a series of "rooms', and once you click on the one you like you enter a page inside which you can have real-time conversations with the other deviants who are present in that room you entered. Like IM, or a group Skype conversation, text only of course. 

And Lit chat events are tons of awesome! We get lots of writing done, critique sessions, sharing, interviewing of more experienced deviants, in-chat mini contests... and get to meet so many new people. I met lots of my oldest watchers, and friends, this way.

Yet another important thing.

Being part of a group is great, it has changed my deviantART experience forever. Even being just a member makes you become involved in a community that is much smaller, and more home-y than the world wide wild deviantART can sometimes be, especially for new deviants.

But every group is different, with their objective and focus on a specific part of the world of literature: always remember to respect every community you become a part of, even if you're just around to get comments/favourites on your writing (and a lot of Lit groups focus on exposure only, so that's okay!), please remember that not ALL Lit groups focus on that, and many have rules in place for people who want to be their members. Always read the submission rules of the groups you join, before doing so. They are always located on their profile, always easily reachable, you have no excuses: and every admin will be nice to you even if you haven't read them and you tried to submit without following the rules, but you should try to be nice first and do them a favour. :P (Lick)

One very last thing: there IS a difference between watching a group, and being a member of it. Watching a group is passive, for following the situation - membership is for more active involvement: consider it when you look at your inbox next time and it's flooded with things from the thousands of items of the ton of groups you're part of. Which are the ones that I really want to stick to, that give me challenges I'm passionate about/share deviations that I always like/give me the best feedback/so on? Prioritize those. Being a member of 25 groups and being active in none is like being a member of none. So why not be a member of five, and actually be active in those five?

Some points for discussion:
  • Why, in your opinion, do deviants become easily inactive within groups?
  • What is the most common issue you have with groups you join? And for group admins, what is the most common issue with the submissions you get?
  • What can a group do to involve their members more?

If you're a group admin (especially in a Lit group), please consider sharing this article to your members or requesting it into your gallery. Heart

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brokengod--veins's avatar
Oh I almost forgot. One issue I have with some lit groups (especially poetry) is finding one that focuses more on critique and improvement like the written revolution. From my perspective, finding one is like clawing your way into the pits of Tartarus to find gold. I'm guilty of being part of those groups but only because I joined them when I had no clue to differentiate a productive group from another. Until now it's difficult for me to determine a group that can help vs. a group that only exposes. There are some that seem so helpful but they're not. I may sound stupid from saying that but that's my main issue even after being here for a year :/ *derp face*