Hmm. That title sounds kinda harsh and possessive, doesn’t it?
That’s because these are my writer friends and I’m not sharing (kidding). It’s really because, like all communities, each one is different. The people you click with might not be the same people I click with, but the point is, find the people who are right for you.
Since there’s no real formula to writer friendmaking (though Lori has some great tips to set you in the right direction) I thought I’d share a bit about my writing tribe, how we met, and why we’ve hit it off. Maybe it’ll inspire you to chat up someone new on twitter, or attend that writer’s conference you’ve been on the fence about?
My writers’ group: I feel lucky to have had not one, not two, but three groups of writers whom I trust to give honest and valuable feedback on my work. They’ve changed over time because I’ve moved over the years and nothing beats getting together in person. With my current group, we meet once a month, read one person’s WIP ahead of time, and spend a couple of hours sharing a meal, catching up on each others’ lives, and offering our feedback. It’s invigorating and therapeutic, and I don’t know what I’d do without these ladies who are not just my first readers, but my friends. Each group I’ve been a part of is completely different, but you know what they all have in common? We met at a writer’s conference. Writer’s conferences are a perfect place to mingle with like-minded writers who are just as committed to writing as you are.
My twitter and blogging buds: When I started tweeting in 2010, some of the first people I connected with were fellow freelance writers Mahesh Raj Mohan and Princess Jones. We related to each other as self-employed writers, then discovered a common appreciation for things like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, fiction, and Sour Patch Kids. When I started blogging, I stumbled across Melissa Cryzter Fry‘s blog, Julia Munroe Martin‘s, Hallie Sawyer‘s, and Nina Badzin‘s. I forget who introduced me to whom, (I know Twitter had a lot to do with it) but these are just a few of the writers I consider my friends. Over the years, we’ve written each other snail mail, read each other’s WIPs, and confided in one another for writing advice. While writing is a common thread we share, I’ve realized that what really makes people click is something less tangible. It can be that you laugh at the same joke, or share a similar outlook on life, or have felt the same fears. As in real-life, social media is great for that initial intro, but the real connections are built through a mixture of chemistry and the simple act of being there for one another.
Local writers: To echo Lori’s advice: go to author readings. Just last week, I went to a local reading and got to meet not only the author, but other writers who had also come to show their support. A few drinks and a couple of “what do you write” questions later, I’d met four members of the local literary community whom I’d only known about online. You know how they say the book is always better than the movie? Well, the person is always better than the online persona. My new friends have since introduced me to their writer friends and invited me to more events. I couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome.
The Debs: I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Before we became The Debs, many of us had maybe interacted with one other once or twice on Twitter. But we very quickly became close friends who are on this crazy journey together, every step of the way. That’s because as much fun as we have on the blog, we have even more fun behind the scenes: we email and chat and joke and vent and cheer each other on when it’s time to celebrate and when it’s time to tackle a problem. I’m so grateful to the 2013 Debs for bringing us together.
You’ve met my writing friends, now it’s your turn. Introduce me to some of yours. (I promise I won’t steal them.)