Skip to main content

With a Little Help From Our (Writing) Friends: How to Cultivate a Writing Community

Writing is something we do on our own, but finding success requires a supportive writing community. Here's how to find and cultivate that community.

Writing is something we do on our own, but finding success requires a supportive writing community. Having others who understand what we go through, who provide a shoulder to cry on during tough times and who raise a glass with us to celebrate our triumphs, can make all the difference in the world.

My book Writer’s Digest Guide to Magazine Writing was released just last month. Without my close writing friends and critique group, this dream come true would not be a reality. When I struggled with a chapter, doubted my abilities and needed to be held accountable, they were there for me. And they are the first ones who get to celebrate with me.

My Community

Twenty years ago when I started writing, the first thing I did was seek out other writers who lived in my area. I found a group of amazing women writers of all different genres who met every Wednesday evening for three hours. They welcomed me with open arms, shared their knowledge, resources, writing critique and encouragement and they continue to support me today. Because of this group I found my writing voice; I finally understood the horrors of passive voice; I learned about red threads and story structure; and I realized how important it is to have close writing friends you can trust.

I also stay involved in local writing organizations, attend writing events and stay active in the writing community. This way I stay current on what is happening in the industry, and I make fantastic connections, some of which have grown into wonderful friendships. When writing this book, in addition to my Wednesday group, one writing friend helped me create a schedule to make the whole task easier to manage, while other friends provided feedback on chapters. When I felt overwhelmed, they were there to push me to keep going (and I am so glad they did).

How to Connect with Other Writers

Finding others who share your passion for writing isn’t hard, but it takes some effort. One place to start is your local library and bookstores. Look for writing workshops being offered and sign up for them. On the day of the class, arrive a little early and introduce yourself to the other writers and learn more about them. Exchange contact information and follow up. You never know where these connections may lead.

Another great way to get connected is through writing organizations. National groups like SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and Romance Writers of America have local chapters. Many cities and states also have writing groups. For me, there is the Northern Colorado Writers. It holds monthly meetings, sends out an informative monthly newsletter, hosts an annual conference, and retreat. I’ve noticed the writers who participate in the group’s activities and connect with others, end up being successful.

One of my favorite ways to meet new writers is through conferences like the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference and indieLAB. I keep business cards with me and make a point to introduce myself to those sitting around me at mealtimes and during the sessions. If I want to stay in touch, I give them my business card and I ask for theirs. I have made great connections at conferences that have helped me and continue to help me on my writing journey.

For you introverts out there, I know it can be intimidating to take that first step to talk with someone new, but I encourage you to be brave and give it a try. (You can read more tips on my post, Introverts Guide to Writing Conferences).

Honor Your Writing Community

As with any good relationship, a healthy writing friendship needs to benefit both of you through mutual respect, support and encouragement. This can happen by sharing and critiquing writing, holding each other accountable to a certain writing schedule, and/or meeting once a month to talk “shop.” Good writing friends are there for each other and value their time together.

I am presenting at the new writing event indieLAB in Cincinnati this September (and recently spoke at the Writer's Digest Annual Conference). If you plan to be at indieLAB, find me and say hello. I always enjoy meeting new writers, expanding my community and making new friends.

Happy Writing!

Kerrie

 The Writer's Digest Guide to Magazine Article Writing: A Practical Guide to Selling Your Pitches, Crafting Strong Articles, & Earning More Bylines

The Writer's Digest Guide to Magazine Article Writing: A Practical Guide to Selling Your Pitches, Crafting Strong Articles, & Earning More Bylines

The Writer's Digest Guide to Magazine Article Writing

In The Writer’s Digest Guide to Magazine Article Writing, accomplished freelance writer, author, and instructor Kerrie Flanagan dispels the idea that writing for magazines is a difficult process meant only for those with journalism degrees. Drawing from her 20 years as a freelance writer and instructor, Flanagan takes you step-by-step through the entire process, sharing her knowledge and experiences in a friendly, conversational way.

With more than a dozen sample articles, expert advice from magazine editors and successful freelance writers, practical tips on researching potential publications and instructions on crafting compelling query letters, you’ll find the tools needed to write and publish magazine articles. Get a copy here.

Vérant

Samantha Vérant: On Romance and Recipes

Author Samantha Vérant discusses how her writing process changed while writing her new contemporary romance novel, The Spice Master at Bistro Exotique.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 633

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a warm up poem.

Do I Pitch Different to Agents vs. Editors?

Do I Pitch Different to Agents vs. Editors?

Every so often writers ask if they should pitch different to agents vs. editors. This post answers that question and provides some extra help on how to successfully pitch both.

Urban Legend

Urban Legend

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, feature an urban legend in your story.

Grose, 12:6

Jessica Grose: On the Unsustainability of Parenting

Opinion writer and author Jessica Grose discusses the complicated subject of modern motherhood in her new nonfiction book, Screaming on the Inside.

Elizabeth Shick: On Research Through Immersion

Elizabeth Shick: On Research Through Immersion

Award-winning novelist Elizabeth Shick discusses the complete rewrite she devoted to her debut novel, The Golden Land.

6 Habits Writers Can Learn From Athletes

6 Habits Writers Can Learn From Athletes

Author and athlete Henriette Lazaridis shares six tips and habits that writers can learn from athletes.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Last Chance to Nominate Your Favorite Writing Websites, Our Historical Fiction Virtual Conference, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce the deadline to nominate your favorite writing websites, our Historical Fiction Virtual Conference, and more!

4 Tips for Writing a Modern Retelling

4 Tips for Writing a Modern Retelling

From having reverence for the original to making it your own, author Nikki Payne shares four tips for writing a modern retelling.