Writing is, for the most part, a solitary activity. When it comes to writing a book, there’s no substitute for time spent at the keyboard putting the words to the page.
That being said, writing a book is a monumental undertaking. From figuring out your plot to perfecting your prose, writing a good novel takes countless hours and heaps of emotional energy.
And sometimes, all that work gets to be…a lot.
For the first several years of my writing life, I struggled to get through the middle section in any book I was writing. Most of my ideas had interesting beginnings and then fizzled out as I lost interest and stopped writing. Rinse and repeat.
The thing is, at this stage I was writing all alone. And when you’re going at it alone, it’s really hard to get the encouragement you need when the going gets tough.
But as I got more serious about my writing, I became friends with other writers, both in real life and online, and though their encouragement and support I was able to complete my first novel. (And many more works after that!)
So if you’re wondering how to find writing community, here are some of my best tips:
Find a writing buddy
If you’re looking for support in your writing journey, finding a writing buddy is a great first step. This can be a fellow writer you know in real life, or someone you’ve met in an online writing community.
Finding another writer to connect with has multiple advantages: you can offer each other support, hold each other accountable, and even offer to read and critique each other’s work.
When I was working to write my first novel, I had a friend who was also a writer, and we agreed to write a new chapter of our books each week and email each other when we were finished.
The excitement of getting to read each new installment–and knowing they were waiting for mine–was exactly the motivation I needed to reach The End. It was also the perfect way to start incorporating feedback and constructive criticism to make my work better.
NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is just around the corner. Each November, hundreds of thousands of people around the world pledge to write 50,000 words of an original novel.
Why is this great for new writers?
Because the excitement of having a deadline–and knowing that thousands of other writers have the same deadline–can give you the extra push you need to get your book written.
Not only that, but NaNoWriMo’s platform groups writers together based on geographic region, so you can find other writers in your city and cheer each other on as you work.
For more on NaNoWriMo and deciding whether it’s right for you, check out my article below:
Find a writing group
Although NaNoWriMo is only in November, other writing groups offer a year-round place to meet other writers. Some of these may be local, in-person events, such as a writer’s guild that meets in your city. Others might be online writing groups.
You can find a host of writing groups that meet on your favorite platform, whether that’s Slack, Reddit, Facebook, or Discord. Some of them are centered around a specific genre, like groups for romance writers. Others are targeted toward brand-new writers or writers with some experience under their belt.
Writing in community has always been incredibly important to me, which is why at the end of last year I decided to launch my own online writing group called Sitka World.
Named after my upcoming fantasy series, the Sitka Saga, Sitka World is a place for writers and fantasy lovers to meet, talk about stories, and grow in our respective crafts. With craft sessions, group discussions on writing, and opportunities to get immersed in my fantasy world (Rúnsala), Sitka World has something for everyone.
Here’s some of what you can find in the Sitka World Discord:
Sitka Story Hours—where we meet to worldbuild in Rúnsala together. Our creations will become part of the series, and we create a free collectible trading card at the end of each session for each participant. (Every Friday at 4pm EST.)
Story Q&As—a chance to chat about a story-related topic and learn from other writers. (Every Thursday at 6pm EST.)
Coffee Chats—a monthly group call on a topic related to writing or the creative life. (Third Thursday of each month 7pm EST.)
Tales of Rúnsala RPG—a custom-built text-based role playing game set in the world of Rúnsala. (Every Sunday at 1pm EST.)
Book Club—exactly what it sounds like! We read a book over the course of a month and meet together to talk about it. (First Saturday of each month at 11am EST.)
Our community is free and open to all writers and story-lovers. You can join here. Hope to see you there!
Have you found community to be an important part of your writing practice? What are some of your favorite writing communities that you’ve found?
Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash. Sitka World artwork by Nate Crandall.