You Need a Writing Community

By Ellie Tiemens

Here in the PWR department, and at Taylor in general, community is a big idea for us. From bi-weekly dinners to annual retreats and bonfires, plus all the extra games of D&D, critique groups and classes we take together, pro-write students quickly become your friends here.

I think this is a beautiful picture of what a writing community can look like.

It often seems like writing should be a completely solitary activity. You sit down, crank out a couple thousand words, then get on with your life.

But in reality, writing needs the influence of a community. A writer without a group of people backing them is not going to be terribly successful.

Here’s why you need a writing community:

A writing community gives advice

You’re editing your WIP and all of the sudden can’t decide if a character should die in this scene or not. Who are you going to call? Writer friends!

Most likely your sibling or spouse or co-worker will not know what to do in that situation. But writer friends; writer friends know exactly how to give advice about character deaths without needing to question your murderous tendencies first.

The people in a writing community know where the comma goes and when you need to get rid of a character. Plus they’ll usually be willing to read your manuscript and give you feedback.

A writing community gives support and encouragement

Any artist can have people tell them how great they are doing. But it takes other artists giving specific encouragement that truly makes you feel great.

Having a writing community to send you a funny writing meme or a quick text to make sure you’ve gotten some fresh air today is critical. You need people in your corner as a writer who can give you the right kind of support. Writing friends are typically the ones who can do that best.

A writing community knows what you’re going through

Another perk of having a writing community is that you automatically have friends who know exactly what you’re going through. They’ve likely also spent long hours poring over edits or searching weird things on google for “research.”

It’s also likely that you’ll have a few people who have gotten pieces – or even books – accepted for publication. This experience is invaluable when you’re trying to write a proposal or query letter yourself.

A writing community builds your professional network

If nothing else, having connections with other writers and editors builds your professional network. These people who have inside connections at your dream job, who can give you glowing recommendations or even an endorsement on LinkedIn are a necessary piece to the puzzle of success.

But make sure you return the favor. Being part of a writing community also gives you the chance to recommend people for the open position in your office or write a glowing recommendation letter for them.

Ultimately, as a writer you need a community of writers. Whether you join a major like professional writing, find a critique group in your area, or even join a Facebook group for writers, finding a community of people to support, encourage, and walk alongside you in the writing process is invaluable. So what are you waiting for?

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