When you hear the word “writer”, what do you envision? Is it the lonely, starving artist? Is it the pipe smoker? Whatever it is, I promise you, writers come in all shapes, sizes, cultural backgrounds, and they have their own unique flare. I know this because I have “met” quite a few amazing writers simply by joining a variety of writing communities.
A writing community is simply a group of writers who encourage and support one another. You’d be surprised at how many may meet at a physical location near you. After Googling writing communities in my area, I was able to locate one. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to attend a writing event yet (hey, wife and mom duties have to come first). Instead of pouting like my toddler, I decided to search the interwebs for some ideas.
Fortunately, I was able to find quite a few writing communities on Twitter (and Facebook) that I fell in love with. One of my favorite Twitter Chats for writers is #StorySocial by Kristen Kieffer of She's Novel and Jenny Bravo of Jenny Bravo Books. This chat is primarily for fiction writers (did I tell you I’m working on my first flash fiction collection?). It meets every Wednesday at 9 p.m. EST. I also love #StoryCrafter by Faye of Writerology. I am really intrigued by psychology and the way the brain works, so naturally, Faye stuck out to me as an amazing writer. Her chat meets every Sunday at 3 p.m. EST, but for the month of November, it’s also meeting every Wednesday at 3 p.m. EST to give a little extra support during NaNoWriMo.
I have gained a ton of insights simply by participating in these awesome Twitter Chats. I’d recommend joining a writing community for many reasons, but I’d like to focus on these four benefits:
You can gain a fresh perspective on your writing piece.
If you’re anything like me, you pour your heart and soul into an article, book, etc. and think everyone else will love it just as much as you (if not more). Unfortunately, this is not always the case. That’s okay, though, because when you connect with other writers in a writing group, they can provide fresh insights that you probably can’t see because you’re too involved in your work. Just make sure you take every suggestion with a grain of salt. Different people may share different opinions about your work. That doesn’t mean you need to incorporate everything they say, but it does mean you need to consider the different opinions and choose the best route to improve your work.
You have support from others who *get you*.
How many times have you tried to excitedly share your work with family and friends who don’t show the same enthusiasm? Or maybe you needed someone to bounce ideas off of, and your best friend just doesn’t get it. That’s why it’s beneficial to connect with other writers. Writers understand the struggles you’re facing and can offer insights that may be able to assist you.
You learn about awesome resources.
I really despise the term “self-made”, but that’s a different story for a different day. In order to become a better writer faster, it would help to have access to appropriate tools and resources. You could try, but it would be quite difficult for you to research and learn about every single writing workshop, conference, group, etc. That’s why being in a writing community is great. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found out about different writing resources simply by participating in a writing community.
You create meaningful relationships with others.
This is by far the most important reason to join a writing community. I have tried and failed at reaching some of my writing goals simply because I was going at it alone. There is something to be said about the support, encouragement and connections that can be made by joining writing communities. Not only is it great to find and connect with writers who get you as a writer, but it’s also great when they get you as a person. My dad always told me that none of us were born knowing how to live life, and we need each other to help us along the way. Those words have really been true in my life--this year especially.
I have really enjoyed learning how writing plays a part in the lives of the incredible people I’ve met through various groups and communities. What would be even better is if some of these awesome people turn out to be real in life friends for years to come.
What about you? What writing communities are you a part of? How have they been beneficial to you?
If you’re looking for a writing community to join, I suggest the Writer’s Alliance, hosted by yours truly. We’re a group of fiction and nonfiction writers who wanted a space to connect with like-minded writers and offer support and encouragement when needed. Like most Facebook groups, we have daily threads, with opportunities to share your last work, collaborate, and more. We would love for you to connect with us! Who knows? You may end up connecting with a life-long friend.