7 Ways To Build Community Into Your Writing Life

If you’re reading this, it’s because you’ve been called to write. You’ve got a fire inside you that burns fiercer with every word you put on the page.

But being a writer is a love-hate relationship.

You love it because you’re a writer, and you’re putting words and stories out into the world. But you hate it because you’re always by yourself.

There are so many other artistic callings in the world that bring people together—music, performance, art shows, etc—but when it comes to writing, it’s kind of an every-woman-for-herself deal.

Writing is a lonesome calling.

And the writing life isn’t for the weak. It’s for those who are willing to do whatever it takes to write.

Even if that means spending a hell of a lot of time all alone.

Building Community Around Your Writing

Just because you’re a writer, that doesn’t mean you always have to be by yourself.

Sure, you’ll have to be by yourself sometimes. Because writing requires you to be able to “shut the door” to distractions and take those images, thoughts, characters, worlds, and emotions out of your head (and heart) and put them into words.

And that’s gonna take some alone time to make happen.

But you don’t always have to go at it all alone. You can start to bring community into your writing life.

Here are some ways to do that:

  • Join a local writing critique group–writing groups are a great way to get community into your writing life on a regular basis. Most groups meet once or twice a month so you’ll still have the alone time available to do the work, and then also have opportunities to connect with other writers.
  • Join (or create) an online writing group–if you’ve got a bunch of writer-friends, you’ve got yourself an online writing group. Check out writing groups on Facebook, Google Plus and other social media sites. Or create a Facebook group or Google Hangout of your own to connect with your friends and support each others writing lives.
  • Write with a friend–I’m a huge fan of “write ins” where you meet up with other writers at a specific time and place, and then you all write together. I do this a lot with one of my entrepreneur friends who lives locally, and we get so much done, while also keeping each other company.
  • Have a “check in” buddy–if you don’t want to write with other people, you can have a “check in” buddy instead, which is a person who keeps tabs on your writing progress and vice versa. I have a check in buddy (she’s another writing coach) that I email every Monday, and it helps me to stay focused and know that I’m being held accountable for doing what I said I was going to do.
  • Swap pages/chapters–want feedback on your writing? Find other writers who also want feedback and swap pages/chapters with each other. Do this on a regular basis to keep your writing sharp and to have community in your writing life.
  • Attend writing workshops/classes–writing workshops are a great place to meet other writers who could become your new writing buddies.
  • Start (or join) a writers “Meet Up” group–the site, MeetUp.com, is a great place to start a writer’s group in your local area. You just set up an event and then Meet Up will share it with people who fit the description of the audience you’re looking to attract.

Having community in your writing life will also help you to stick with it and keep on going when things get tough. When you’re all alone, it’s easy to quit. But when you’ve got a community supporting you, it’s a lot harder to throw in the towel (and if you’ve chosen the right community they won’t let you!).

Think Community, Not Competition

So many times writers compare themselves to other writers or worry that they’ll never be the Stephen King of their genre. All that does is instill fear, limitations and negativity. And no writer needs that.

For example, my writing coach friend and I could have easily seen each other as competition and steered clear. But instead, we embraced the fact that we’re both writing coaches with totally different audiences and missions, and that we can be stronger when we work together.

Same goes for having community in your writing life. It’s fine if you want to go at it all alone, but why would you want that? Isn’t it so much better when you get to do things–especially really tough things–with other people there to help cushion the blows and make the great times even greater?

When you build community into your writing life, you’ll enjoy the fact that you’re a writer so much more.

The Write Better Stories Community

I started the Write Better Stories community this year because I wanted to create community of emerging novelists who are serious about writing stories they can publish.

Being a writer is one of the best feelings in the entire world–and when you can write a story that hits home for someone, that changes someone’s life, it’s even better.

Write Better Stories is a free community on Facebook. If you’re serious about wanting to write badass stories, join us.

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How do you build community into your writing life?

Image Courtesy of Julie Jordan Scott