How to Build a Writing Community

Nikon_stones_tag1_15105_hDo you feel supported as a writer?  Do you have a writing buddy you can contact after you receive a rejection?  Someone you can talk to (or write to) when the novel just isn't going the way it should? Do you know other writers with whom you can talk shop?

If not, you're missing out.  I spent last weekend at the Writer's Loft orientation in Nashville, and being surrounded by writers for two days reminded me how vital it is to make connections with others who share our passion. 

It can be difficult to talk about your work with a civilian, because non-writers don't understand the ins and outs of plotting and characterization, just to name a couple.  And most civilians certainly don't get why we are willing to spend hours at our desks writing, when there's no guarantee that what we're working on will ever see the light of day.  The antidote? Find a writing community.  If you don't know how to do that, here are some tips.

1. Take a class.  One of the fastest ways to meet like-minded people is to sign up for a class.  When I first started attending church, I wondered how to meet other people there–but once I signed up for a class I immediately made friends.  Look for local classes at community colleges, privately taught, or sign up for one of many available online classes.

2. Sign up for a program.  There are also programs like the one I talked about above, The Writer's Loft, that offer a longer duration than just one semester.  This can be a great way to meet others, too, and perhaps to even….

3. Join a critique group.   A critique group that meets regularly to review and talk about each other's work is a huge boon.  I've been in various groups for years and couldn't write without them.  Not only will your work improve, but you'll find like-minded people with whom to hang.

4.  Join a writing association. Every genre has a national association that offers online benefits and annual conferences.  Romance writers, mystery writers, children's writers–all of them are well represented.  Use the Google to find the right one for you.

5.  Join a local writing group.  Most communities have local writing groups that offer regular meetings with guest speakers.  Some even present conferences.  These can be a great source for friendships and seeking out critique groups.

6. Go to a writing conference.  Not only is this fun and educational, if you're open and friendly, you might strike up a friendship with a fellow attendee.  Plus, many conferences offer the opportunity to meet agents and editors.  A win-win.

7. Read writing blogs and comment.  I've made many online friends through going to other writing blogs and commenting.  You really don't even need to have a blog of your own to do this, though it helps.  Internet friendships can be as supportive as in-person ones when it comes to writing.

8.  Meet other writers through social media. Ditto above.   I know many people think of social media as a scourge, but I've made great friends through Twitter.

9.  Go to readings.  Support authors and local bookstores when they do readings!  And chat up the person sitting next to you–lots of writers attend readings because we're all avid readers.

 Those are just some ways that you might begin to search out a writing community.  What about you?  How do you find writing community?

Photo by Angela Sevin.

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13 Responses to How to Build a Writing Community

  1. Zan Marie 09/27/2012 at 06:33 #

    All of these are great ideas, Charlotte. I find my writing buddies at the Books and Writers Forum and the Muse from Hell to be wonderful “groupies” who provide support at my fingertips. ; )

  2. Charlotte Dixon 09/27/2012 at 07:23 #

    Oooh, those are great suggestions, Zan Marie.  Thank you!

  3. Karen Phillips 09/27/2012 at 09:33 #

    Your ideas are so great, Charlotte! I love the Writer’s Loft and plan to attend the Orientation Weekends even after I earn my certificate. I appreciate that I live close enough to go to the Writer’s Loft without having to travel so far. I’m also so lucky to live in an area where there is a fantastic writing group, The Living Writers’ Collective. We’ve grown and merged into a community of friends who meet in person twice a month and nearly everyday on a closed FB group. Over the last year several of us have met for a few girls-night-out movie-night at one of our homes. The group is about 60/40 women-to-men, and the men give us hell for leaving them out. We get together for a Fall Feast at someone’s house. The group is huge and would be intimadating if not for the smaller groups within the bigger called Critique Buddies. The group as a whole just started three months ago having Flash Fiction contests, giving away craft books or coffee shop gift cards as the prize. We have speakers come to talk to us about their success stories. (I really wish you would come to it the next time you are in town.) There are several published writers in our group who help each other with direction in actually getting published. There’s a man in our group who owns a used-book warehouse and sells us books that we might order through Amazon without having to pay the shipping, and he offers cheap printing for the writers participating on Critique Nights. I know I’m going on too much like I drank the Kool-Aid about our group. They are great and have such a wonderful help to me getting established into the writing process. Thank you, Charlotte, for this great post and giving me the chance to brag.

  4. Charlotte Dixon 09/27/2012 at 10:00 #

    I love hearing about your writing group, Karen.  You've got a unique and successful thing going there, its really cool.  I'm setting up readings and talks for the novel release, so I would love to come talk to you!  Just let me know when would work for you guys and I can work around it.

    I'm so pleased that you've been part of the Loft–its been so wonderful to work with you!

  5. Rebecca 09/27/2012 at 10:10 #

    I have been in online writers groups for many years. They have been very supportive, informative and all the writers are eager to help the next beginning writer along.

  6. Bella Vida Letty 09/30/2012 at 05:53 #

    Thanks for connecting on twitter. It’s true we need the help and support of community. I enjoyed reading this and look forward to reading more.

  7. Charlotte Dixon 09/30/2012 at 08:12 #

    Happy to connect with you, too, and thanks for dropping by and commenting!

  8. Sandra / Always Well Within 09/30/2012 at 11:52 #

    For most of us, support as a writer is really essential but it may be an missing ingredient. I had a fabulous critique group for awhile, but it’s not meeting at the moment. I also like attending courses; I feel supported through gaining knowledge and meeting liked-minded folks. These are excellent idea!

  9. Charlotte Dixon 09/30/2012 at 14:30 #

    My long-time critique group (I've been part of it since 2004) is currently on hiatus, and its a real lack.  Luckily, I have support from writers in other arenas.  It truly is a necessary part of writing.

  10. Christi Corbett 09/30/2012 at 19:52 #


    I have a critique group that meets twice a month, and a few select writing friends that I can pour my freshly rejected heart out to when the situation arises :).

    Writers are so supportive of each other, I love it!

    Christi Corbett

  11. Charlotte Dixon 10/01/2012 at 09:55 #

    I agree, writers are very supportive of each other.  And, there's nothing better than a group of writers–the most interesting people in the world!

  12. Michael 10/02/2012 at 09:29 #

    I love the first one, ‘take a class.’ Practically everybody lives in close proximity to a local community college and most colleges offer a variety of courses to fit your busy schedule. Even if it’s not a writing class, taking a business class can do wonders for your writing business. Great advice!

  13. Charlotte Dixon 10/02/2012 at 09:51 #

    You're so right, Michael–taking a class pays double because you get the information and the chance to meet people.  Thanks for dropping by.

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