Monday, August 04, 2014

Why you really, really need a writing community

Several years ago, I was in a writing group that I adored. But that group gradually fell away, as these things sometimes do, and so for a number of years I didn't have a group. That seemed fine; I was writing a novel, and I didn't necessarily want anyone reading it piecemeal as I went. I thought I should just stay by myself and plug away till it was finished. Then we'd see.

Of course, what I didn't realize--and what I now understand, thanks to several new groups I've joined lately--is that the community doesn't just exist to give critiques. (And it certainly shouldn't exist just to give critiques to me.) Apart from the amorphous though extremely important function of offering moral support, a community can:
  • Go to events together
  • Create events and invite speakers
  • Join together to give readings where individual speakers might not draw a big enough crowd
  • Help publicize each other's work
  • Recommend (or warn you away from) agents, publishers, publicists, etc.
  • Advocate for one another and for fellow authors worldwide
  • Eat good food and drink good wine 
  • Pull each other out of literary and personal ruts

This is only a small sample of what writing communities can do. So even if you have no work you want to share at the moment, I strongly recommend joining one or more groups, in person and/or online. It makes a remarkable difference, believe me.

Here I am with some of my writing buddies, at our party yesterday ...


Divorced Kat said...

I'm jealous, I want a group like this!

Charli Mills said...

Back in Minneapolis I belonged to a terrific group and we supported one another as you describe. Having moved away and living so remotely now, I miss this. Just not sure where to start to find (or initiate) something similar in this rural area. Any ideas?

Ann Gelder said...

Charli, I'm not sure how I would do it in a small town/rural area. Maybe post some flyers? Is there a local bookstore or cafe where you might find writers? I asked a friend (actually a member of my previous writing group) whom I had hired to edit my second novel. She just happened to know a group with an opening, and then someone in that group linked me up with the larger networking group you see pictured. I would just mention it to anyone you run across, and also online, until you find someone who knows someone ...

Kelli Sue Landon said...

I used to be part of a writers group but it dwindled. Miss it!