Writing Communities (and Shirtless Men!)

Writing is a lonely profession. You’re often holed up in a room with nothing but the computer and your own thoughts. The good news is, you don’t have to shower every day. The bad news is, some days, the only adults you’ll speak to are your spouse and the 19-year-old manning the Wendy’s drive-through.

How writing feels on some days.

That’s why writing communities are so important. Yes, it’s great to be able to talk plot arcs and deadlines and what shows you’re binge-watching in order to procrastinate meeting your deadlines, but it’s also great just to talk. To have conversations with people who are also holed up their home offices and available to chat 24/7.

So, if you’re new to writing, or don’t have a supportive writing community, here are a few things you can do to build one:

  1. Follow writing groups on Twitter. And then engage with them. Reply to their posts, ask questions, Retweet them. You can make great connections with people you’ve never met. A few good groups to try: Women Writers, Friday Night Writes, Advice to Writers, Man Candy (OK, this last one isn’t a writing group, but you’ll thank me later).
  2. Go to meet and greets in your area. MediaBistro has awesome networking events where you can meet other writers, editors and journalism professionals.
  3. Join a critique group. Personally, I’m a solo writer; I’m not a fan of critique groups. But I know many writers that thrive off them— and particularly enjoy having people that hold them to their deadlines.
  4. If you have an editor/agent, ask if they have any clients in your area. I befriended a fabulous writer that lives near me, because we have the same editor and she introduced us via e-mail.
  5. Go to the zoo and order a purple martini. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but I’m pretty sure no one is reading this far, because you’re all looking at Man Candy. (And I don’t blame you.)

Happy Writing!

Author: Colleen Oakley

Colleen Oakley is the author of BEFORE I GO (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, Jan. 2015), a love story. A former editor for Marie Claire and Women's Health & Fitness, she's now an Atlanta-based freelance writer. Find out more at colleenoakley.com.

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