(To see where this all started, visit Rae’s post about giving back to the writing community here, and the personal section of my month wrap-up post.)
Some people might say that writing is a lonely hobby that forces turns people into hermits.
I say those people are dumb.
Even if many of us enjoy writing by ourselves, there is so much more to being a writer than just chaining ourselves to a desk and typing away. Not only do we need to interact with the outside world in order to recreate it, but we need inspiration, encouragement and advice too. That’s where your writing village comes in.
A writing village is a network of people that you can use to help you improve as a writer. It is made up of anyone who supports your writing journey or affects who you are as a writer.
If you’re interested in utilizing your writing village, you first have to figure out who’s in it. To start, try answering the questions below:
- What authors inspire me?
- Who do I turn to when I’m struggling with an idea?
- What professors have pushed me to improve?
- Who helps me when I’m feeling stressed?
- What writing blog do I love reading?
- Who gives me awesome book recommendations?
I’m sure you already have a pretty formidable list, but these questions may just be the tip of the iceberg. If you struggled to come up with names, that’s okay too! It can be hard to reach out, especially if you’re just starting or are more introverted. I’ve got tips for building your village in the next section.
1. #amwriting on Twitter
The #amwriting community on twitter is filled with amazing writers, and the source of many members of my writing village. If you’re on twitter already, try checking out the tag to find people to follow. Then, start using it yourself. Share your struggles, your victories or little snippets from your stories.
(The Book Creators has a great tutorial on Twitter for Writers as well!)
NaNoWriMo is a lot more than just a challenge. There’s a huge community of people on their forums that are all taking the terrifying plunge with you. Even better, participants in NaNoWriMo are all members of certain regions based on their location, so that you can get information and meet up with writers in your area.
(If you’re participating, don’t forget to add me as a buddy!)
3. Real Life
This one might be a bit tricky, but having physical people to go to when you need them is a huge help. For students, taking writing classes, participating in school publications, or attending writing club meetings are all great ways to meet up with people in your area who are passionate about writing and helping other writers. If you aren’t in school, try attending local workshops, readings or conferences.
(If you don’t know where to start looking, meetup.com can help you find a writing meetup near your zip code.)
The main focus for all of these methods is to build a relationship. People are smart, and won’t be interested if they think you’re just using them. Try bonding over your favorite books, movies or TV shows. If you share a class with them, do the study buddy thing. The goal is to get to the point where both of you feel comfortable enough to talk about problems your having and possibly have the other person critique your work.
Now that you’ve made some connections, it’s time to start tapping into everything your writing village has to offer. If you’re uncomfortable asking for help, try offering something to them instead- but make sure that it’s something you can realistically do. Remember: a writing village is a place where everyone works together to move forward. That means that you can’t just take whatever advice or help others offer without giving your own.
Regardless of what approach you start with, here’s some tips for writing village etiquette:
- Be Supportive
- Be Helpful
- Be Sincere
- Be Humble
Hopefully, these tips will help you build your own writing village and take advantage of everything they have to offer!
Who’s in your writing village? How did you build it? Share your responses, questions and advice below, or using @SpunFromInk on Twitter!
(PS: Don’t forget to add me to your buddy list for NaNoWriMo!)