Writing Communities & The Myth of the Lonely Writer

MjAxMi0wZmYwN2ZiYmIyNzVkNzIyWhen I started writing my first book–my “practice” book–I had no idea what I was doing. I told when I should have showed. I had no writing schedule, and as a result it took me six years to finish the book. There was no outline to follow, and I only thought about tension as it related to the bike in my spinning class. My characters were at times clichéd in their emotional reactions, and my dialogue tags included *gasp* adverbs.

But most of all, I had no community of fellow writers to lean on and learn from – I was writing solo.

Replace frisbee with laptop=writing solo.

Fast forward nearly a decade and things have changed. I’ve written 3.5 books, the last 2.5 in the past two years. Along with speeding up my writing (thanks to outlines, Scrivener, and daily writing goals), I understand the HOW to write a book that can end up on a shelf – and my first shelf-worthy one makes its debut May 26, 2015.

There has been much discussion about writers being solitary creatures, introverts who prefer the company of a laptop’s glow or a pet to people. We are lonely and tortured, which is how we find our muses…or something like that. But not all of us are introverts, and some of us prefer writing in a crowded, public place to the pin-drop silence of a home office. And what I’d guess is true for (nearly) all of us, is that having a community of support only makes the writing easier, and better.

As Amy mentioned yesterday, the internet has changed things for us writers–not only can we Google things like, “how to perform open heart surgery” and get step-by-step instructions, we can find a plethora of writers going through exactly what we are–from how to create a writing schedule, to how to query, to how to survive being on submission, to how to promote your book, the internet provides it all. Just a few keywords and some time–any time of day, from anywhere.

Because this is a job you can do at home (in your pjs and slippers), my writing community has been mostly online. Sure, I have met a few other writers offline, and some have become critique partners and IRL cheerleaders. Otherwise it’s been all about my #5amwritersclub crew — a highly caffeinated and perpetually overtired bunch who gather on Twitter Monday to Friday for writing sprints, support, and to cheer each other on–and other writers I’ve met via social media.

Me, while I wait for coffee to brew & catch up with my #5amwritersclub crew.

While Twitter has probably been the greatest source of writer camaraderie I’ve found, my critique partners, my agent, and my editor round out my community–as do my husband and daughter, who have had to listen to plot twists (yes, even my 6 year old has been subjected to my, “So, what if THIS happens…” rants) along with some bellyaching here and there. Couldn’t do it without them!


Author: Karma Brown

Karma Brown is the author of COME AWAY WITH ME (MIRA/Harlequin, September 2015), an emotional story of one woman’s discovery that life is still worth living, even if it’s not the life you planned. Karma is also a National Magazine award-winning journalist, and lives outside Toronto, Canada, with her family and their mischievous labradoodle puppy, Fred.

5 Replies to “Writing Communities & The Myth of the Lonely Writer”

  1. Great post! And I love this group for many reasons, but one of them being the realization of how different we all are as writers (as well as how much we have in common). And I would LOVE to know some of your 6-year-old’s plot twists. I bet they’re fantastic! 🙂

    1. Her plot twists are…interesting 😉 They often involve fairies and princesses, with the odd Christmas elf tossed in. I can get her to skype you if you need some inspiration!

  2. I love this, Karma, and agree wholeheartedly about the support of the online writing community (for example: you!). Things have changed so much since I wrote The Good Girl – so much more support and camaraderie now than the first time around. Great post!

  3. I’m so impressed that you can get up so early everyday to write. I should start a midnight writer’s club – that’s way more my time frame. 🙂

Comments are closed.