Writing is traditionally a very solitary activity, isn’t it? We lock ourselves away in a room devoid of any human interaction and sit in front of a computer screen for hours at a time. But we can’t get away with that anymore. It’s become a necessity for writers to build a social network.
It’s getting harder and harder to get published, to be heard amongst the million other voices out there with their own story to tell. Well, I’ll let you in on a secret: it’s all about who you know. And I’m not talking about publishers and agents, or rubbing elbows with industry big wigs. I’m talking about friends. You remember those, don’t you? Those people who keep trying to coax you out of your room and help you pry your eyes away from the computer screen. The people who will support you, cheer for you, help guide you, and eventually buy your book.
Who knows us writers better than other writers? I’ve never known any other community to be so welcoming, so helpful. There’s that instant sense that you’ve found where you belong. When I think of the writing community, I think of the phrase ‘pay it forward’. Because writers help writers. They can be cheerleaders, a source of inspiration, critique partners, a shoulder to cry on, and a general wealth of information.
So where do you find these amazing friends?
1. Join social networking sites.
It’s like going to the pub to meet people without ever leaving your pajamas. Likes, hashtags, links. So many options. Just choose the one that best suits you. But be wary. A common mistake is using these sites as a tool to sell yourself. These are social networking sites. People want to socialize. They don’t want to be bombarded with advertisements. But just having fun and chatting to people can be the best sales pitch.
2. Start a blog and follow others.
Sure, everyone’s got one nowadays, but don’t look at it as a way to market yourself. View it as a way to build connections and start conversations. The blogging community is a whole new niche to explore and find others with similar interests while helping you learn along the way.
3. Connect on writing sites.
There are all sorts of sites out there to help writers on their publishing journey, and not all of them want your money. On my own path to find an agent, I used querytracker.net for years. It helped me to hone my skills with writing, querying, and synopsis development. And it was all through the help of other writers at various stages on their own journey. I also met a fantastic critique partner there. I still go there for help and to help others.
4. Search for groups in your community.
You might actually have to leave the house and talk to real people. Scary, I know. People get together to talk about writing, share at open mic nights, critique each others work, or to simply write together. Contact your local writing group or organization to find out when the next meeting is.
5. Attend classes, workshops, and conferences.
Even if you’re a seasoned writer, there’s always something new you can learn, and sometimes, the information you gather isn’t even the best part. It’s being able to meet authors, agents, editors, and even publishers. Talk, get your name out there, and who knows? That pitch session might actually land you an agent.
6. Join an organization.
Whether you write romance or sci-fi, for children or adults, there’s a group out there for you. Meet others interested in the same genre as you, and learn about publishing opportunities, skill building, or writing events. Besides all that, it looks good on your author resume. Yes, you really do need one of those.
7. Reach out.
So you’re an agoraphobic who hates the internet and all things related? (Well, you probably won’t be reading this post then anyway) Not all is lost. There’s always good old fashioned snail mail. Morse code? Carrier pigeon? My point is there is no excuse not to get out there and network with other writers. Any how, any way you can.
So remember, wherever you are in your writing journey, there is someone out there who has been in your shoes and is willing to help. And conversely, there will always be someone else newer than you who can use your advice. What’s the worst that can happen? You might just make a new friend.
Need one more way to join the writing community? Check out inspiring posts by writers and create a link to your own here.