Having a writing community is something I’ve discovered to be really important.
I’m the kind of person who words of affirmation and encouragement mean a ton to. I also find it so much easier to stay on track with life when I have goals and accountability partners. And, of course having brainstorming sessions with other writers can be quite helpful indeed. Yet, I’ve found that there aren’t many people in my darling little town who are pursuing the same goals and are passionate about writing. (And when I say “not many” I mean I’ve yet to meet one.)
Thankfully though, I live in this wonderful world with the internet, and goodness, do you know how many writers are hanging out on the world wide web? Literally tons of them. So, today I’m gonna have fun and tell you about some ways I’ve connected with other writers, and hopefully that will encourage you to be able to reach out and get settled into your own special community.
I was eighteen or nineteen when I first discovered Go Teen Writers, a blog and writing community full of fantastic advice, information, and friendship. They also have a closed Facebook group that has 888 members who are constantly discussing writing-related topics, asking for and offering beta reading services, and requesting word wars. Since the group is meant specifically for teens (although you don’t get kicked out once you reach your twenties – thankfully!), there are some guidelines that help make the group clean-ish and safe.
For several years I spent endless hours reading the blog and Facebook group, especially during long nights when I couldn’t sleep due to Lyme disease. (The fact that the Facebook group has people from all over the world helps the night time hours still be active. Or maybe that’s just because writers are night owls…) The time I spend on the Facebook group has dwindled in recent years, but I still hang out there multiple times a week and have learned so much, met so many writing-ish friends, and feel a strong sense of belonging with other writers. Reading other GTW’s blogs, following their Facebook pages, and hearing them talk about Goodreads also helped me get involved with other realms of the writing world online.
Which brings me to blog hopping. I click on a writing-ish blog I like, and then either check to see if they have a list of blogs they like, or else I find their Followers badge, and simply begin flipping through the profiles and reading the titles of the other blogs they’ve followed. When one sounds promising I look it up. It’s a great way to connect with amazing writers and authors I probably would have never, ever come in contact with otherwise. (Just, make sure you’re careful when looking around so you don’t stumble on blogs you’d rather not end up on.)
When you find a blog you do like, go ahead and comment on it. Maybe follow it. And, for real, why not contact the blogger either through a contact form or emailing them? It will (most likely) make the blogger’s day, especially if you tell them how you found their blog and what you like about it. Go ahead and ask some questions too, if you feel so inclined. For the most part bloggers delight in connecting with other people, hence one of the reasons for blogging in the first place. Plus, bloggers are fantastically wonderful at being helpful and giving out advice when it’s requested in a polite manner.
Kate from Once Upon an Ordinary is a perfect example of this. I emailed her a while back, asking some blogging-ish questions (because her WordPress blog rocks), and we’ve been emailing back and forth ever since. She’s been extremely helpful and I’ve learned a lot from her.
Another way to do a form of blog hopping is to take part in Blogging Challenges. Very cool way to connect.
Okay, yes, Goodreads is technically a site for readers, not necessarily writers. But, it’s also a place for authors to hang out, and obviously authors are writers. And besides, books will be books, and wherever there are books there’s at least some type of community for the book-loving soul, right?
Goodreads is a wonderful place to connect with people who have similar taste in books as yourself. (Or, if you like to debate, it’s a good place to connect with people who don’t have a similar taste in books.) I’ve also discovered it can be really helpful to read a wide range of reviews on different books, because it helps me get a feel for what kind of stories people are looking for today, or what they like or don’t like to read.
If you’re at a loss of how else to find writers (which, you shouldn’t be, because if nothing else you have Noveltea as a starting place…), then you can use Google to get you started. We live in this amazing time when there is so. much. information right there at our fingertips.
Hummm… It’s been a while since I’ve used Google to look for a writing community. I think I’ll have to look up some of these groups Google came up with. 🙂
National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNo, is an extremely marvelous way to connect with other writers. I still have online friends who I connected with four years ago during my first year of NaNo.
Common goals? Check. A passion for writing? Check. Accountability? Check. Excitement? Check. Celebrating together? Check. Even if I never ever used the words I wrote during NaNo (which I did, it was the first book I got traditionally published), it would have still been worth while to me, because the community is so inspiring, encouraging, and on-going.
Leave Comments or Email People from Blogs You Already Follow
I’ve quite blessed every time one of y’all leaves a comment on here. It makes blogging so much more fun when I receive feedback or stories from y’all. Keep up the good work!
And, every so often one of you lovely people who read Noveltea take it into your head to email me, and that makes me extremely (like, x10) happy. I’ve made several good friends that way, like Bekah, who I first “met” nearly three years ago. We’ve not only emailed back and forth since then, but we’ve even done a little bit of snail mail. Through the emails I’ve received from Noveltea readers I’ve also met writing accountability partners, beta readers, brainstorming buddies, friends, and the list goes on. So, if you enjoy someone’s blog, why not reach out to them via email? It could be the beginning of a great friendship.
And, I could continue on, but my allotted blogging time has run out for today, so I’ll leave you with these six suggestions. Have fun expanding your writing community, and I hope you have a fantastic day!
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Have you met any good friends via any of the above mentioned avenues? I’d be delighted to hear your story!