In this post, we look at the value of finding a writing community, and give you six tips for finding your writing tribe.
Your writing is unique, your writing problems are not.
Last week I went on a little rant about ‘have to’ and this is an odd continuation of that. It seems that we have convinced ourselves that we ‘have to’ write alone.
You are not unique (spoiler alert). Yes, sorry, dear writer. You are not. Your writing is unique. Your story is unique, but the problems you face as a writer are not unique. We’re all facing the same issues and feelings.
I meet once a week with a group of writers who are writing their novels by completing one scene per week. They’re just over halfway with their stories. We’re slogging through the middle and we’re all experiencing the same doubts and worries.
Even though we’re writing in different genres, in different countries and different time zones, the feelings and the worries are all the same. It is the community and the support that keeps us going.
Finding people with the same goal is priceless. Runners join clubs and gyms. Artists go to art class. Even scriptwriters work in teams.
You don’t have to do it alone. A writing community can give you the support you need.
6 Tips For Finding Your Writing Tribe
1. Writing Groups
If you live in a place that has a writing group, join them but be wary. Not every group is going to suit you. Shop around. Protect your creativity.
2. Online Groups
The internet is a wonderful place. If you do not have a local group, try finding one online. Just like the ‘in real life’ group you should take your time before committing. Join a few groups, lurk for a while, ask questions, and decide what will work for you.
3. Go Where Your Genre Is Celebrated
4. Go Where Your Writing Celebrated
All groups have different criteria, even if it isn’t implicitly stated. Spend some time figuring out what the group values and what their goals are. If their goal is to change your writing to sound like theirs – get out of there. If it is to encourage you to improve your writing and style you can stay.
5. Know When To Leave The Group
People change and, when they do, their writing changes. Some writers stay with the same group for years and grow together. Others change the focus of their work and leave or outgrow the group. Does the group still serve you? Have you learnt all you can? Are you bored with the same exercises? If so, leave. Find a new group.
6. Give More Than You Take
Any community is dependent on ‘give and take’. Always give more than you take. Contribute, participate, and share in the group. You are not the only one looking for feedback. Also, be kind and generous when you do share.
The Last Word
Knowing that there are people rooting for you is amazing. If they value your work and your opinion they will become your beta readers, your support crew, and friends for life. Take time finding your writing tribe and then hold on to them for dear life.
Join my writing community on Deadlines For Writers.
by Mia Botha
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