by Ellen Buikema
Writing is a solitary endeavor, and many writers are happy to stay in their writing caves. However, one must escape into the wild sometime. Consider approaching the art of writing as you might a traditional job where you bounce ideas off co-workers, commiserate when things go wrong, and celebrate each other’s successes.
Never underestimate the power of networking.
Everyone has talents in different areas, but talent needs to be cultivated. “The first essay I ever wrote was perfect in every way,” said no writer. Ever.
Great writers start as mediocre ones. Practice is the route to greatness and networking, spending time with and learning from other writers, is the vehicle that will get you to your destination faster.
Where to find writers
There are private and public groups for writers of different genres as well as writing and editing groups to explore. There are many talented people out there who are willing to help out a fellow writer. We are all in this together. I cannot emphasize this enough.
If you need to find some writer groups, here are a few I recommend:
- Fiction Writers and Editors (no promos, spam, or bullies)
- Meet the Authors!
- We PAW Bloggers (We Poets, Authors, Writers, and Bloggers)
- Authors Networking Group
Twitter groups (aka hashtags)
The Twitterverse abounds with writing communities, which are denoted by their hashtags (#). Here are a few: #WritingCommunity, #writinglife, #nanowrimo, #amwriting. This is also a place that many agents and editors frequent. Also, a recent blog by Frances Caballo’s has a handy list of 105 hashtags for writers with a short description of each. Marcy Kennedy's post at WITS has a lot to offer as well for understanding the Twitter writing community.
Writing is a business populated with artists who work in various specialties. LinkedIn is a great place to meet book formatters, illustrators, editors, printers, publicists, and other writers.
Blogging in Print and Video (vlogging)
According to the latest blogging statistics, 77% of Internet users regularly read blogs. Blogs are easy to find. All you have to do is type a topic in the search bar along with the word blog and BAM, there you have it. For fun, I typed in “motorcycles blog” and was given the opportunity to view a few hundred of them.
Try typing in the genre that interests you and the word blog. You’ll not only find great material, you’ll also find other writers who may have similar interests. Many writers have their own blogs. Contacting them from their sites is simple. It has been my experience that writers are generous folks and will get back to you when they are able.
You're already onto this, since you're here at WITS. You can also connect online with other writers via this resource page at Writers Relief.
Video Blogging is not quite as common as blogging just yet but is a good way to learn more about a writer, or anyone for that matter. Most vlogs are found on YouTube.
Other places to look:
- Instagram via Instagram Live and IGTV
- TikTok - Current estimates show that TikTok has about 80 million monthly active users in the United States. 80% are between the ages 16-34.
- Facebook Live - I experimented with Facebook Live about four years ago. The vlog was fun and a bit unnerving for me, mostly because I had a primitive setup. I recorded myself with my cellphone propped against my laptop’s screen. Amazingly enough, it worked out okay.
- Local Library - Writing workshops are great for meeting like-minded people. These groups often meet once a month. This is an opportunity to meet with people who write in different genres, and have varying levels of experience. Some are seasoned professionals; others are just beginning their journey. I met the person who eventually formatted my eBooks and another who designed my first book cover at a local library workshop. I’ve also made many good friends at my monthly writers group.
- MeetUp - There are hundreds of thousands of MeetUp groups covering a plethora of topics in at least 180 countries. I belong to a few writers groups on MeetUp. They have been invaluable resources.
- Zoom - Since in-person meetings of larger groups is currently ill-advised due to the pandemic, Zoom a cloud platform for audio and video conferencing, is a safe, secure method to meet online. My weekly critique group is using Zoom. This enables people who are not local to join the group as geographic boundaries are irrelevant.
Professional writing organizations are a good way to interact with other writers and further your career, no matter where you are in your writing journey. Many associations offer great ways to connect online as well as in person with local member events. Each writers’ association has its own perks.
Perhaps one of these groups will suit your needs and interests:
- Authors guild
- The National Writers Union
- International Women’s Writing Guild
- National Association of Independent Writers and Editors
- Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
- Romance Writers of America
Connecting With Authors in Your Genre
Some tips for being successful in building lasting connections:
- Begin with the authors with whom you are familiar.
- Go to GoodReads or Amazon and then enter your genre of choice in the search bar to see authors in that genre and their work.
- Engage with writers on their social media pages. Always be positive. Share their posts. Comment on their blog post. (This is an excellent way to begin communicating with another writer.)
- Chat with writers at conferences.
- Avoid spamming, tagging other writers with your work.
There is no need to be alone on your writing journey with so many people to engage in meaningful conversation. Be brave. Reach out.
How do you connect with other writers? Are you finding work-arounds for the new normal? Please share your experience with us down in the comments!
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Author, speaker, and former teacher, Ellen L. Buikema has written non-fiction for parents and a series of chapter books for children with stories encouraging the development of empathy—sprinkling humor wherever possible. Her Work In Progress, The Hobo Code, is YA historical fiction.