6 Ways to Find a Writing Community
Writing can be a lonely endeavor. We’ve all seen the caricature of the lone creative, slaving away over his/her notebook or keyboard in the darkest recesses of the local coffee shop. You’ll be relieved to know it doesn’t have to be this way. Community is a necessary part of the writing process; not only does interacting with other writing professionals keep you emotionally healthy, but it can also provide creative stimulus and help you improve your craft.
Don’t yet have a writing community to call your own? Here are six places you can start:
1. FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to share your work with someone you already know and trust? There may be writers among your friends and family members that you don’t even know about. Try casually mentioning your latest project to someone you’re close to and see how they respond. (This is also a great opportunity to test your pitch.) Even your family and friends don’t write, you may have discovered a pool of enthusiastic beta-readers, subject-matter experts, and sounding boards for new ideas!
2. COLLEGE / MFA PROGRAM
If you’re working on a writing-related degree, you probably have at least one foot in your school’s writing community. Professors and classmates are great resources and may be able to help you resolve more refined technical issues with your projects. If you’re a student writer working on a degree totally unrelated to the craft, take heart. College campuses are a hotbed of creative activity, so check out student organizations like the school newspaper, literary magazine (if your school has one), or writing center to connect with like-minded writers.
3. BOOK SIGNINGS
Many people who go to book signings aren’t just readers, they’re often fellow writers! Attending local signings is a great way to meet writers and show your support for the community where you are. Keep an eye out for event announcements in your town’s bookstores, libraries, creative spaces, coffee shops, and newspapers.
4. LOCAL WRITING GROUPS
There may already be organized writing groups meeting in your area. Libraries and bookstores tend to have programs that support writers, and, if in doubt, a good old-fashioned Google search can come in handy. When you find one, test the waters to see if the group is a good fit. It’s important that the group be supportive of your goals. If you’re still having trouble finding a group, try reaching out to a few writers you already know and start your own!
5. SOCIAL MEDIA
Having the world at your fingertips is one of the greatest benefits of the Internet age. Make the most of your scrolling time and start networking online. Join online writing forums and Facebook groups. Search hashtags like “#amwriting” on Twitter and Instagram to find fellow wordsmiths. Follow popular writing-related pages and companies, and see who’s commenting on their posts. Don’t forget to leave a few of your own! Keep it professional though -- if you’d rather not use your personal account, create a writer page and/or profile.
6. WRITING CONFERENCES
Just like writers, conferences come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They can be huge affairs in exotic locales that run for multiple weeks, or more intimate single-day events held in your hometown. Regardless, they’re a great opportunity to learn from industry professionals you might not otherwise have access to, like bestselling authors, agents, and publishers. Decide what type of conference fits your interests, schedule, and budget, then make the most of it!
Looking for a place to start? If you’re in the New England area, check out our three-day Hollihock Writer’s Conference this August for inspiration and to connect with a community of writers!