We know a writer’s world can be a lonely one. Long days spent sitting in front of a computer. Unacknowledged submitted manuscripts. Nothing but the characters running around your head to keep you company, or, perhaps, a pet who likes to sit closely while you’re working but doesn’t respond to your ranting or questioning (rude). But, you don’t have to keep your writing endeavours all bottled up.
What if we told you there’s a world out there full of people who know what you’re going through? Who know what it’s like to have 20 different ways to conclude a story but no idea of which is correct? Who know the intimate (and aggravating) details of a Word Doc? The wealth of local and online writing communities is your oyster. But, if you’re not so sure joining one is for you, here are the reasons why we think they’re the best support on offer for aspiring authors:
Expand your network
If becoming a full-time, professional author is your goal, joining a writing community is an incredible way to network. Like many other creative industries, becoming successful in the writing-world is occasionally about who you know. Connecting with other aspiring authors broadens your horizons for gaining publishing-insider information or learning about different agents, editors, or publishers that would be a good fit for you. There are plenty of people out there who have already done the research who would be willing to share and collaborate with you — and writing communities are a great place to tap into that!
Find someone to lean on
Like any good activity-based community, writer’s groups are also a fabulous place to make friends and find support. The only people who know the trials and tribulations of a writer are the ones who have lived it. Finding a group to gush to, vent to, or just generally talk things out with is crucial to keeping your sanity through the long days and nights of writing. Finding a writing community with similar goals as you is the best way to not feel so alone.
Keep yourself accountable
Unless you’re the most organised and self-motivated human on the planet, there’s a chance that you’ve convinced yourself that missing a deadline or leaving a writing-goal unfinished wouldn’t be the worst thing every now and then. While, you’re right, it’s not the end of the world, writing in the lonesome can be a hindrance to your productivity. Sometimes, we all need a gentle push (or massive shove) to keep ourselves going. Writing communities will help you set deadlines and, most importantly, keep them — because some of us need the looming threat of ‘have you finished that thing yet?’ being asked to stop us from procrastinating.
While it’s true that you are your own harshest critique, many writers also have a complete blind spot when it comes to the strengths and weaknesses of their writing. How many of us have finished off a paragraph not knowing if it’s the most genius or most awful thing we’ve ever written? Luckily, you don’ t have to have all the answers. Writing communities are built in editors, there to give you the cold, hard truth about how your novel actually reads (in a constructive way, of course). However, this also means that you’ll have the opportunity to critique other writers’ works, which is equally valuable to your growth as an author. Sometimes, being able to pick up on something that isn’t working in another manuscript will help you work through the kinks of your own.
Finally, getting out of your head and into the community will serve up some new inspiration. Spending so much time wrapped up in your plots and characters is the best way to get to know your story and flesh it out perfectly, but it also means that you can end up stuck in a bit of a creative rut. Talking to other writers’ about their worlds and stories — no matter how different from your own — will reinvigorate your creative side and get the wheels turning on all the possibilities for your writing. Surround yourself with creativity and genius will come, we promise.
As always, thank you for reading, and be sure to tweet us @AgoraBooksLDN with what you’re looking for in (or already love about!) a writing community!