Writing is hard, but it can be easier if you’re not doing it alone. Eileen Cook is here to share 5 reasons why you should join a group.
Writing may be a solo journey, but a writing community can make it a road trip.
Writing is a solitary pursuit. You set off, a lone writer on a story journey armed only with your creativity and imaginary friends. Unless you’re co-writing your book, you’re solely responsible for getting words on the page, which can be freeing.
However, there are many benefits to being a part of a group that supports you, challenges you to be better, and helps take your writing to the next level. And besides, a road trip with friends is always more fun.
Here are five reasons to expand your writing community to include more than just imaginary friends.
This comes as a shock to no one: writing and publishing are hard. There’s
lots of rejection. At some point, most writers consider giving the whole thing up and spending their time doing anything (including repeatedly hitting their head on the desk) that seems more productive.
A writing community has your back when things get tough. They remind you that you’re not
alone. Sharing our difficulties makes those hard times easier to manage. Plus, when it’s time to celebrate, there’s a group ready and excited to join in.
You can’t know everything. Not only is it impossible, but even trying eats up all your free time that could be spent binge-watching Netflix. A strong community provides access to writers with a variety of interests and knowledge that can assist you.
My community is at the Creative Academy for Writers, and I’m amazed at the range of members there—from an Olympic athlete to those who work in law enforcement and everyone in between. Having contacts for subject-specific information can be a benefit to any writer.
Experts suggest that if you want to work out more frequently, try having a “gym buddy.” You’re much more likely to drag yourself out of bed if someone is expecting you. A community offers opportunities to build strong writing habits and helps hold you accountable to your expressed goals and targets.
Daily writing sprints with your buddies can get the creative juices flowing or get you started on your daily word count goal. Retreats or workshops where members plan novels, establish goals, or draft their stories together provide opportunities for members to encourage each other toward their objectives and brainstorm solutions to problems as they arise.
One of the best things about being a creative person is having a wild imagination. One downside about being a creative person is having a wild imagination.
Sometimes we use that creativity for good; other times, we use it to generate conspiracy
theories, second guessing, and doubt. A writing community can check your reactions and offer guidance. Do you reach out to the agent who hasn’t responded to your query to make sure they received it? Should you respond to a bad review or let it go? A community can help you sort these things out.
Experience and Networking
Publishing is a complicated, ever-changing business. A community of people at all different stages of the journey provides you with opportunities to learn from those with more experience or someone who took a different path. If you’re the veteran, interacting with newbies can remind you of your passion and jump start your excitement.
Interested in joining a writing community? Poke around. Whether you need critiques, a group that caters to a specific genre, or an online/in-person gang, the right fit is out
there. To get you started, here’s a list of communities. And check out The Creative Academy for Writers! Membership is free, and I’d love to see you there.
Eileen Cook is a multi-published, award winning author with her novels appearing in nine languages. Her books have been optioned for film and TV. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. She’s an instructor/mentor with The Creative Academy for Writers and Simon Fraser University Writer’s Studio Program where she loves helping other writers tell their unique story. Her most recent novel is You Owe Me a Murder, and her non-fiction title Full Time Author, written with Crystal Hunt, came out in January of 2021.
Eileen lives in Vancouver with two very naughty dogs.