Hello everyone! I hope you’re all staying safe at home and not going stir crazy as we all adjust to this new normal. As we here at Three Houses Press continue to work from home, we wanted to highlight a way that budding authors can stay connected. So today we’re going to focus on writing communities. I personally feel that this information is more relevant than ever as we strive to stay connected in the midst of isolation. However, please note that these tips will serve you well beyond this current climate. Let’s dive in, shall we?
What are writing communities? Simply put, writing communities are groups that connect aspiring authors with other up-and-coming authors. Sometimes they even connect up-and-coming authors with established authors. Why are they important? Here are a few reasons:
So often when you’re writing a book you feel alone. After all, writing isn’t a team sport. Yet, when you have a community of people to turn to during the bumpy road that is writing a book and the even bumpier road to publication, it’s nice to have friends who understand where you’re coming from and can help support you along the way. Having a community of people that are going through the same things as you, or have gone through those things and come out on the other side, can provide the encouragement and motivation you need to keep moving forward.
When you’ve hit a snag in your writing and don’t know where to go next or you’re struggling to stick the ending, turn to your writing community. Your fellow writers can provide critical feedback as you work on your manuscript. Crowdsourcing is a great way to get the ideas flowing again. Just be sure to provide as much advice to the community as you ask for in return.
Before a book ever makes its way into the hands of a reader, several people aside from the author have read it. Within a publishing house alone the acquiring editor, the editorial assistant (who most likely brought it to the attention of said editor), members of the acquisition staff, key members of the sales and marketing staff, the design team, copyediting, etc. have all read it. However, before a manuscript makes its way to a publisher or even an agent, authors rely on friends, family, and peers to be their beta or test reader. And while your mom is an amazing cheerleader, she’s probably not an impartial reader. Having a peer that you know and trust read your book before querying it is an important step in your publication journey and one made easier by participating in a writing group.
Connecting with other writers is an excellent way to learn more about the publishing industry. Especially if one of your fellow members is lucky enough to land an agent and eventually a book deal! When your peers are successful, you should capitalize on that by asking them questions about their experience and how you can apply similar techniques in your own quest for publication. You can also learn tips and tricks on how to self-market and best use social media to build your author platform.
If you’re thinking, this all sounds great, where do I sign up? That’s the best part! Writing communities are everywhere. However, it is important to find the right one for you. Here are a few ways you can join existing communities at home and (eventually) in person.
While it may sound like a no-brainer, social media is a great way to connect with other writers. Facebook, Goodreads, and LinkedIn have writing community pages or groups that you can follow or join. While other sites such as Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr can be used to follow people and hashtags related to writing and writing groups.
JOIN A WRITER’S ASSOCIATION
There are many different associations that writers can join. While the national organization is currently mired in scandal, romance writers may still want to look into joining your local chapter of the Romance Writers of America. For more information on writing associations and programs visit the AWP.
ONLINE WRITING GROUPS
The Internet is rife with websites where you can connect with other authors such as Meetup, Scribophile, Wattpad, Camp NaNoWriMo, Absolute Write, Reddit, She Writes and more. Do your research and be sure to find the website and community that works best for you. Don’t just join a community because it’s popular. Join a community because it fits you and your writing.
GO ON A WRITING RETREAT
While certainly not the least expensive option, attending a writing retreat is an immersive experience that removes you from your daily existence and introduces you to people with goals similar to yours. Writing retreats involve workshopping and sharing your work with strangers, which can be both daunting and liberating. And because retreats are short, yet concentrated, you might find a group of peers that you want to stay connected with even after the program has ended.
VISIT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY
Your local library is not just a home for books. Many public libraries also offer programming for writers and creators. Check your library’s calendar of events for any writing seminars or meetings for writing groups and you may just find your community close to home!
START YOUR OWN
If none of these options work for you, then start your own community! Everyday people decide to take the plunge and start writing a book. If you’re one of those people, go online and find your fellow daredevils so you can support one another on your rollercoaster writing journey.
Well folks, now that we’ve exhausted the topic, go out (figuratively) and find your community! There has never been a better time to start writing a book.