The Value of Finding Your Writing Community

Do you know why community is so important for writers?

It’s been said that writing is a solitary pursuit, and for the actual act of writing, usually that’s true. But just because writing is solitary doesn’t mean it has to be lonely. The online writing community is one of the most positive and friendly communities I’ve run into online (of course with exceptions). There is a lot to be said for finding a tribe of fellow writers to share your writing life with, and there is a special value in having like-minded individuals to talk to and learn from.

The Value of Community

There are a lot of benefits to finding a writing community to participate in, ranging from professional and creative development to fostering networks and friendships. Let’s look closer at three benefits to writing community: mentorship, fellowship, and growth.

Mentorship

One good reason to find community is mentorship. Especially as a new writer, there are going to be questions…and lots of them. And even writers who have been writing or publishing for years may have questions that more experienced writers can answer.

A good writing community can provide help to writers for writing craft, marketing, publishing industry, moral support, and/or the process of publishing. Just bear in mind that some communities will focus on specific aspects and will ask members not to post about unrelated topics. But that’s just another reason to join a variety of groups focused on different things!

Fellowship

Besides mentorship, online communities can provide places for writers to commiserate about the challenges of writing or just chat about craft and story. It’s awesome to have these kinds of connections, and they can be inspiring and uplifting conversations! You may find not only friends but colleagues with whom you can produce work together (be it co-writing, beta reading, editing, or any other act of creation and revision).

Regardless of what you find or the friends you make or don’t make, just having a place to go to chat with like-minded individuals can reduce that loneliness that can come with being a writer. These people know what you’re going through, and more likely than not, they want to help. Writers, more often than not, are some of the most generous people I know.

Growth

And finally, similar to mentorship, online communities can help you to grow. They can provide you with valuable tools, resources, and information to grow your writing and your business, and they can also help expand your thinking. By finding diverse communities, you can begin to find people who may not think exactly like you and who encourage you to try new things or to come at a story from a different perspective.

Finding communities can help you grow academically, professionally, and personally, and it is a great joy to both to be the one learning and to work with others to learn together.

Where to Find Communities

There are a lot of places online where you can find communities, but I’m going to stick with Facebook for today, as there are lots of groups on there that can get you started. I encourage you to look into a few that are relevant to you and join them to try it out…and if it doesn’t work for you, just leave and move on! Eventually you will find your people. 🙂

I highly recommend that those interested in indie publishing (or in finding new communities) check out 20booksto50k(R) on Facebook. This is a large business-focused group, but they have an abundance of “units” where they share the collective knowledge of their almost 40,000 members. They also have units dedicated to finding writers in your genre, which is a great stepping stone for new authors to network. They do strictly monitor posting, though, so be sure you read the rules carefully so you don’t get kicked out!

Another kind, positive group I recently found is Create If Writing, run by indie author Kirsten Oliphant. She is such a kind, knowledgeable person and maintains a wonderful safe community for authors to chat and learn. She also has a podcast that has excellent info for authors on marketing and branding.

Finally, I am also part of the Clean Indie Fantasy (Discussion) group, which also has an indie book club run by Fellowship of Fantasy. This is a great place for clean and Christian authors to connect, and it is an active, supportive group of authors who all help each other out.

In general, just search around and ask other writers what groups they’re in that they like. Sure, you may find some you don’t like, but you will get the chance to find the groups that are right for you, the groups that will encourage you, grow you, and make you new friends.

But most of all, don’t give up the search. Keep looking for your community, and let them support you as you support them in turn. Sometimes you don’t realize what you needed until you stumble on it.

Keep writing, my friends, and keep growing. 🙂

Why I Love the Author Community

Life is full of competition and people who only look out for themselves. It’s dog-eat-dog, every man for himself… or so it seems. There’s competition for jobs, for acceptance into a program, for tickets to events, even for something as small as that last bottle of your favorite drink at the store.

But you know one place that doesn’t feel this way? The writing community.

I don’t know if any of you have experienced this, but other than the occasional bad egg (looking at you, arrogant person on Twitter obsessed with telling people how stupid they are), I have never felt more supported and encouraged than when I talk to other writers online. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but I have theories.

Writers, especially those going into traditional publishing (even self publishing), know how hard this life is. They understand the rejection that lurks around every corner. They know how difficult it is to “make it.” And they know the trials they went through and are still going through and will be coming back tomorrow.

And you know what? I think that makes them some of the most empathetic people I’ve ever met. Well, that and jumping into a new person’s head every day they write.

You see, there’s enough hard stuff in this industry, and writers remember how it was starting out, how intimidating and big and scary the industry seemed (and still is, to many). They know what it feels like to feel insufficient, like you’re not good enough, like your work isn’t good enough, and not even knowing the first step to take to tackle a mountain-sized project.

And they don’t just stop with the empathy.

They help.

Like, actually help. Got questions on minor details of a formatting issue? Post it in a writer’s group or on Twitter, and someone will come to your rescue. Feeling the burn of a rejection? You can find sympathy, empathy, and encouragement from any one of these people! Confused how to start editing your book? There are so many editors out there who hang out in forums and hashtags and just answer people’s questions.

And what’s more, these people very rarely say anything negative to you. They build you up. They encourage you. When you query, they cheer you on. When you get an agent or a publishing deal, they dance and celebrate with you. And that is such a rare thing in a professional world, to have your peers celebrate your successes with you.

Sure, there are things I encounter in certain groups or threads that burn me up or hurt my feelings, but the frequency of this kind of encounter is so much lower than all the positivity I have found to radiate from the writing community. It truly is like nothing I’ve encountered before, and I am in love with it.

In a career filled with negative things, let’s keep this positivity going.

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What about you? Do you participate in any writing or author communities? What have your experiences been like? Do you agree with me? Why or why not? Let’s talk about it in the comments!