Writing is a tough job. Lots of people imagine writers as eccentric recluses permanently hunched over their manuscript and away from sunlight. Sometimes, it definitely feels this way.
But writing is much more than that. It’s about connection and community. More often than not, knowing other writers and forming a bond can help your writing shine!
Take a look at these 5 benefits of having a writing community!
1–Feedback, Feedback, Feedback
Like I said, writing is tough. How can your eyes not glaze over after reading the same few pages for the ten thousandth time?
Sometimes (and really all the time), you need other pairs of eyes.
Maybe that typo you swore you fixed evaded you again. Maybe the place you picked up writing today doesn’t blend with what you wrote yesterday. Maybe your prose is too flowery and confusing.
Having other writers around helps you see these grave mistakes on a micro and macro level. Better to find them now than before you query that agent.
Besides, what are friends for?
This kind of blends in with feedback, but it’s much more specific and hard to spot on your own.
As writers, it’s our job to reflect the world in our work and the world is a diverse place. Look around at the myriads of different races, religions, cultures, genders, sexualities, and all the other things that make humanity unique. It’s hard for anyone to have an accurate picture of it all.
That’s where your writer pals come in handy again — this time as sensitivity readers!
A sensitivity reader does exactly what it sounds like. They read your work and look for any glaring stereotypes, unchecked facts, and anything else that could upset a particular chunk of your audience.
Don’t be afraid about asking a friend to be a sensitivity reader. Often, people are just happy to be represented in more work as long as it’s done tastefully and respectfully.
Plus, you get more unique and awesome friends!
3–Experience in Different Media
This is a benefit that often gets overlooked.
There are lots of different writers like novelists, poets, bloggers, and more! All of these forms of writing have different strengths, weaknesses, and approaches. Getting exposed to people with different forms of writing will only get you accustomed to writing more flexibly.
Getting used to the quick, conversational flow of blogs might help trim the dialogue in your novel. Learning how to create atmosphere in a novel might lend itself well to poetry.
You really can’t put a price on the benefits of all types of writing. More writer friends just creates more great exposure for your creative muscles.
4–Promoting Each Other
Yes, it’s marketing. Don’t be scared. Remember, writing is just as much a business as it is an art.
Sure, it’s great to have fellow creative friends for friendship’s sake, but they also provide business connections. Maybe they can get you in touch with an agent who would be great for you. A simple post on Instagram or Twitter might make some of their fans flock to you.
Social media especially thrives on connections between people. The more connections you have, the more you’ll be promoted online. Maybe it will even translate to a new sale.
Either way, don’t ignore the importance of likes and comments online. If your engagement is drying up, it’s time to call on your friends for help!
5–Curing Writer’s Block
Do you ever get the dreaded writer’s block and freeze up in the middle of an important scene? Well, staring at the screen waiting for the words to come won’t do much.
Instead of panicking, go online and check out other writers’ works. This isn’t to discourage you as someone lower on the success ladder. It’s to get your creative juices back into gear, especially after a long dry spell.
Lots of writers float ideas to their friends and fans online, whether it be about characters, plot points, or tips on descriptions. At certain times of the year, Twitter is even flooded with pitches for books to agents!
I’m not saying to steal these ideas. I’m saying to use them for inspiration. Combine things that you have never seen put together and try to make something unique.
Look at movies and television shows anyway. Those need entire teams of people. Your books, blogs, and poems are no different.
Sometimes getting out of a creative rut needs a little push from your writer pals!