Every writer needs a community.
There’s a stereotype of writers, scribbling away in our towers alone. But to thrive in this industry and reach your full potential, it’s important to find an author community where you can get the support, encouragement and empowerment you need to meet your book goals.
It’s why I started the Women in Publishing Summit, and it’s why I want to encourage you to join us (get your tickets right here, it kicks off March 2, 2022, this year!)…or find your own community that works for you!
Why do you need a writing community?
You might be a writing genius – and congratulations to you, if you are! But even the greatest writers in history sought each other out to bounce ideas off each other, challenge each other, point out strengths and weaknesses, and cheer each other on.
Think J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis, the founders of modern fantasy – we wouldn’t have Narnia without Middle Earth.
James Baldwin and Toni Morrison had a friendship that began when Toni was an agent trying to sign Baldwin, and it grew with their amazing careers, leading to some of the most important American literature there is.
Ann Patchett and Elizabeth GIlbert are famous literary friends who are always cheering each other on in ways big and small.
Of course, you don’t need a famous book bestie. All you need are some people who know what it is to be dedicated to bringing a book into the world. You need folks who can encourage you to grow and take chances.
And it doesn’t hurt to have someone who understands the very specific pain of reading a brutal GoodReads review of your book.
How do you find your writing community?
Just like dating, you have to put yourself out there to find your writing “home base.” It will likely involve some trial and error. Not every community works for every person.
Check out the Women in Publishing Summit as a great starting point. This virtual event is held each year in March, and it’s a good opportunity to hit a number of social and networking events. (It also features 4 packed days of educational content perfect for writers at every stage of their career, which is a great place to find a mentor or industry contact, too!)
You should also look at your state writing associations. Almost every US state has a professional organization that operates either regionally or statewide to give networking and training opportunities to aspiring and established writers. A quick google search of your state, city or region will give you lots of organizations to contact.
Local libraries and universities are great places to find local critique groups, writing clubs and free resources. If there’s not one in your community, don’t hesitate to ask the administration if you can start one. Ask them to make an announcement about a group that’s forming and see if you can create your own magical writing space!
Many paid workshop organizations have popped up in recent years, and if there’s one near you that offers a critique session that you can join, our team has found them great investments, depending on your genre. There’s so many talented writers, editors and professors who have built a great business of providing these opportunities, and a facilitated group can be really smart if you want to get into meaningful critique sessions.
Find your people.
A writing community can help you grow as an author and it can provide valuable industry contacts. But most of all, it can show you you’re not alone on this journey. When the going gets tough, having the kind of writing community that you can thank in the acknowledgements section of your book is something that you deserve.
Go forth and find your people! And don’t forget to sign up for the Women in Publishing Summit!