Writing is a solitary business. Even the most social of authors must spend “quiet” time actually writing the words that will go into their works.
Therefore it’s only fitting that this group of people have loads of insecurities. Did you know there’s a group for that?
That’s right–the Insecure Writers’ Support Group meets every first Wednesday of the month and we writers can lament our insecurities, encourage others, and commiserate or congratulate each other.
This month I want to talk about writing community.
Although I’ve been a member of IWSG in the past, I took a break to focus on my writing. Now that I have a toddler in the house and a bit more time (some days), I feel like I might be able to take on the task of writing one blog post a month for it and also visiting others’ blogs to encourage and communicate with them.
Online blogging groups like these are fantastic for meeting other bloggers and writers, and also for the simple reminder that you are not alone. No writer is truly alone–that’s what the blogging & writing community is so great for. I have met a few great people through blogging–and it’s only because I don’t comment and reach out more that I don’t reach more. I am only limited by my own efforts and time.
How true is that of all things in our life though? Writers who don’t get where they want to be are usually hindered by the amount of time and effort that they have put into their writing. Relationships take time and work. This goes for both online relationships and the relationships with our readers (which will mostly be online, I imagine).
For me, I have found writing friends through online writing forums, such as Scribophile, Writers’ Village University, and NaNoWriMo (especially Camp). Now I’m not a hugely social person. In fact, there are
days weeks where I would happily hole up inside my house and spend the entire time by myself without sight of another person. But you know what the great thing about the Internet is for writers like me? I can choose where, when, and whom to communicate with. I know, right? That gets me pretty excited.
But that introversion and shyness and, okay, insecurity, can lead to a few problems for a writer. We have to make the first move. And I’ve found a few things to be true of making connections online.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to others.
Don’t wait for them to make the first move. In this world we have to reach out to others, we can’t be stationary and expect them to find us. Consider this good practice for those days when you’re a published author.
Assume that other writers are just like you–
–until proven otherwise. You might find someone just like you, someone who is afraid of being rejected for their strange interests or writing style, or you could find someone who can complement your writing style, someone that you could partner with or someone who will become a Beta reader.
Give and get critiques.
Get on a website like Scribophile (which has a great free option) and reach out to other writers, critique their works (you’ll learn a lot from that), and ask them to critique yours (then you’ll learn even more). If you feel like you connect, continue to critique their works, become an online “stalker” of theirs, strike up conversation, offer them what knowledge you have, and make it a point to check back in again.
It’s easy to get lost in the digital world, so it’s up to you to be persistent. You won’t make an instant friend from one comment or like on a blog, or from one critique of another’s work, but if you do it again and again, and stick with it, nurturing that relationship, you’ll begin to see fruit and make connections. Then you’ll realize that writing isn’t so solitary after all.