Year founded: 2000
Number of members: 708,520 and growing
Mission: Our mission is to provide an extremely creative environment for writers, offering them hundreds of unique tools and opportunities for inspiration and creation.
How to join: Joining Writing.Com is free. After filling out our registration form, a member receives a portfolio, personal e-mail, storage space to hold up to 10 items and access to a plethora of tools for uploading work to that portfolio.
Criteria: There’s no criteria for registration other than a minimum age of 13. Writing.Com welcomes all writers of all different levels and styles from hobbyists to professionals.
Memberships: There are five paid memberships available, as well, and with each level of membership, members gain more than the last as far as storage, new item types (images, groups, surveys, websites, etc.) and site tools. Paid memberships are available in increments of three months, six months or a year. Pricing begins at $9.95.
About the founders: The StoryMaster (who fielded these questions) and StoryMistress are a husband-and-wife team of Web developers who prefer to remain anonymous.
You have an incredibly large membership. Why do you think bigger is better? What would you say to those who would argue a more intimate membership is needed for a community to be effective?
A large community like Writing.Com offers much more overall diversity in the writing topics and styles, member opinions, peer-to-peer reviews, and social interaction than a smaller one. Within the massive Writing.Com society, there are then over 700 smaller groups of members who meet and gather online for their own reasons and purposes. For example, the "Children's Writer Group" has 81 members, while the "The Muse's Alley" has 131 members. The diversity and inspiration found within our community is astounding, and members continue to surprise us with their creativity every day.
Larger communities also offer much more stability for its members than a fly-by-night community that may close up shop without much notice. Writing.Com will be 10 years old in 2010, and we plan on celebrating many more decades past that.
Describe the writer who can most benefit from involvement with Writing.com.
Any writer of any level benefits from involvement in Writing.Com. We suggest that you read our testimonials for examples of how members have benefited: http://www.writing.com/main/testimonials
What's unique about Writing.com that sets it apart from other online writing communities?
The most obvious unique element of Writing.Com is our innovative and powerful online portfolio system, which provides more than 20 different types of items that members can create and share within the community. We provide everything from the standard items for poetry, essays and short stories to the more involved books, groups, images, web pages, surveys, folders, polls, crossword puzzles, word searches and much more. These additional items can be used to supplement other writings in their portfolio and further explore creativity.
Writing.Com also has a proprietary point system within the community called Gift Points. These points are used as currency for everything from rewards for reviewing to purchasing items and memberships from our online shop. Members can offer services to one another in exchange for Gift Points. These services range from editing to in-depth and lengthy reviews to signature image creation to member-hosted contests. The uses for Gift Points are endless.
Plus, we have more than 1,000 Preferred Authors and 100 Moderators who answer questions, welcome new members and provide feedback and suggestions for the community. This fosters a friendly, positive and diverse atmosphere.
To be blunt: Why should writers spend time on your site, rather than on another one or, well, writing?
Any time spent on Writing.Com is writing. Whether you are writing a new poem, reviewing someone's short story, posting a message in a forum, or responding to someone in chat, you are writing. And since you are conversing with other writers, you are constantly exposed to writing, reading, reviewing and learning new things from one another. There is no way to avoid writing on Writing.Com!
Writing.Com has hundreds of thousands of members with whom to meet and interact. There is no shortage of inspiration in our community, and we are constantly improving (and adding to) the unique and comprehensive set of tools we provide to our members.
Why do you think it's important for writers to be active in the online writing community at large?
There are so many benefits to a writer when he is enveloped in a creative environment such as Writing.Com. Writers are exposed to a plethora of personalities, other types of writing, new ideas, inspirational words, peer-to-peer reviews and so much more. Many members write us and tell us that they have written more since joining Writing.Com than they have in their entire lives.
Most online writing communities seem to take on a distinctive personality of their own. How would you describe yours?
Writing.Com is welcoming, diverse, encouraging, tolerant, understanding and the most comprehensive creative writing environment you will find online. The vast majority of our writers, whether hobbyists or professionals, are very dedicated to writing. When someone has a question about anything from publishing to grammar to navigating within the website, there is always a helpful member that steps up to assist. We founded the community on creativity, friendliness and support.
What have you learned about the writing community?
With a community as large as ours, we have learned over the years that it functions much like an offline community. There are friendships made. People with common interests find each other and form their own groups. There is laughter, understanding and sympathy between members. There is a range of age groups and maturity levels. There are also differences of opinions. There are some disagreements and petty bickering. There are members with similar interests and members who are complete opposites. Writers are passionate people and with that comes a dynamic, never mundane environment!
How do you recommend new members begin to get involved and see if your site is a good fit for them?
Just like moving to a big city, you must plan to take some time at the beginning to get to know your new surroundings and learn where everything is. There are many avenues to explore and new things to try.
The biggest suggestion we can give is to interact with other members. Post some of your work in your new portfolio and then introduce yourself on the "General Discussion" and "Noticing Newbies" message forums. Peruse other forums and see if there is one that catches your eye. Look through the groups and find one that interests you. Check out the authors listings and find something to read. Then review it. Every time you interact with a new member, that is a potential reader for your work. Reviewing breeds reviewing, so the more you do, the more you will probably receive!
Do you have any notable member success stories to share?
We receive e-mails from members every day telling us of their successes since joining Writing.Com. A student is thrilled that his writing skills have improved immensely and he's now earning an A instead of a C in English. A stay-at-home mom is thankful to have an online space to devote to herself and is writing more than she has in years. A shy writer who has never shown her work to anyone but close family feels liberated because so many strangers are now reading and reviewing her work. A seasoned writer now feels his work has been polished enough through the many honest and thorough reviews that he's received on Writing.Com, that he has submitted his first piece of writing for possible publication. A group of writers have come together and successfully published their own anthology of writing. The success stories are plenty and continue to roll in all the time.
For basic information and in-depth interviews with other online communities' founders, click on each writing community below:
Backspace [bksp .org]
NaNoWriMo.org [National Novel Writing Month]