How (and Why) To Connect With Other Writers
Writing is a lonely pursuit. You sit by yourself, tea/coffee on hand, music playing, and hopefully, everyone leaving you alone so you can hopefully write a few words that hopefully aren’t terrible.
But the overarching theme is: Being alone. Being the only writer in your family and circle of friends adds to the struggle—not only are you isolated, you’re weird and isolated. You might even be crazy, they’re not sure (hell, neither are you).
So how does the naturally reclusive writer find people to connect with? Others who understand the struggles and pains of writing?
The introvert’s natural habitat: The Internet!
Forums, Facebook groups, Google hangouts, Tumblr, Widbook (DUH), and of course, my favourite, Twitter. Search tags like #Writing, #AmWriting, #AmEditing, #WriteTip, and #WriteClub to find where the writers lurk. You can specify genres, but really, it’s fun to be friends with all kinds of writers.
Getting yourself out there online has career benefits — you not only have fun, you’ll make great contacts. I’ve gotten involved with several awesome projects (including this column!) from connections originally made on Twitter.
There are more benefits, though. Being friends with writers means having people who know how to critique, and are willing to read your story with an editorial eye. You’ll have to read theirs, too, but this is also good—editing someone else’s work improves your own skills, and makes you a better writer.
These are also people you can discuss plot issues or character development with them. As writers, they study the craft, too. They might find resources, think of ideas, and see problems or solutions that you missed… and you can do the same for them. Run a line past a writer friend, ask if a twist is “too much” or if opening on this scene or that scene would have more power and draw. These are all areas where your writer friends will know a lot more than your other friends, even the readers!
And at the end of the day, there’s something nice about talking to someone who gets it. Who’s been there, done that, and can give you advice, or at the very least, commiserate. Plus, talking to other writers keeps you motivated. They’ve got their draft finished and off to an editor? You’ll want to do the same! It’s a powerful way to keep writing regularly, and to have a lot more fun with it while you do.
A word of caution: Don’t let talking to other writers about writing replace actually writing. You have to write to be a writer — it’s the most important part!
Where do you find writers to connect with? What has been your favourite writer-to-writer friendship that you’ve formed?