Ten years ago I was newly married, living in a new city, sans kids, and alone a LOT as the hubs was starting a new business. My community existed of my husband, a betta fish named Albie, and a hyper puppy named Trogdor the Burninator.
I turned to writing.
In the past ten years, my writing has turned from a hobby to a career, led to starting a creatively driven business, and most important of all, opened the floodgate to a tribe of friends that I am eternally grateful for.
Writing does not have to be lonely.
In fact, it’s much better when it’s not.
How to find your writing tribe
[Note: You might call it a community, team, posse, clan. Insert your favorite word for your peeps as you read on!]
First of all, you kinda have to leave your house.
I know, I know. Introverts Unite. Trust me. Totally get it.
While you can find people to connect with online, and that’s exactly how one of my strongest tribes started, eventually, you need to be in the same room with your tribe.
- Join a writing association near you
- Attend a writing workshop or conference
- Try an in-person critique group
- Invite a writer in your community to do writing sprints in your local coffee shop
- Take on a new writing buddy on a trial-only basis
- Join online Facebook groups of other authors with either similar goals or similar genre—and start a local meet up once a month
- Start with a small group that you can connect with (it’s why I keep our Cruising Writers Retreats small!)
Benefits of a writing tribe
I’ve been reminded about how grateful I am for my writing tribe recently.
With the release of my new book, Song of Destiny, they not only cheered for me, but they ran contests and giveaways, invited me to post in and takeover their reader groups, wrote cover blurbs for me, shared my release with their readers and friends...all without me even asking.
They also helped me work through some major issues I’m having with a book I’m drafting. And went with me to visit a grave.
The grave and the book are related.
When you’re facing writer’s block, self-doubt, dead-end plots, self-doubt, cliche storylines, self-doubt, creative burnout, self-doubt, your tribe will be there for you. And you’ll be there for them.
They’ll remind you that you can actually write and that you don’t have to struggle alone.
- They will visit cemeteries with you.
- They will love you through your comma deficiencies.
- They will be up from brainstorming, with very little bribing (coffee, tea, wine, and chocolate are all usually acceptable bribes).
- They will cheer for you when you win.
- They will cry with you when you don’t.
- They will big your biggest cheerleader (and if they’re not, they’re not your tribe).
- They will share writing experience—what worked for them, what didn’t.
- They’ll be real with you.
- They won’t be afraid to tell you that YCDB—you can do better.
- They will lift you up with them.
- They will read your pages and re-read your pages and re-read your pages and re-read your pages.
- They will make this writing journey unbelievably life-affirming, joyful, and fun.
Do you have a tribe like that? If not, don’t worry. They are out there.
Take the next step and kiss your fears goodbye
Finding a writing tribe can be a trial and error process spread over many years. For most of us, it won’t happen overnight. It takes a lot to learn to be vulnerable with people, from our selves to our stories.
Just remember, the first step of any journey is often the scariest. But take it, and it’ll make the rest so much easier. Here's a link to a fun, motivational video:
If you’ve already found your writing support team, congratulations! Would you be willing to share how you found your tribe?
Christina Delay is the hostess of Cruising Writers as well as an award-winning author of Young Adult Fantasy and Adult Suspense. She may also have a new series out under a pen name. When she's not cruising the Caribbean, she's dreaming up new writing retreats to take talented authors on or giving into the demands of imaginary people to tell their stories.
About Cruising Writers
Cruising Writers brings writers together with bestselling authors, an agent, and a world-renowned writing craft instructor writing retreats around the world. Cruise with us to the Bahamas this November with Alexandra Sokoloff of the internationally-renowned Screenwriting Tricks for Fiction Authors, Kerry Anne King—Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author, and Michelle Grajkowski of 3 Seas Literary.