Everyone needs to have a good place to hang out.
Remember Cheers? Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name…
Well, it’s no different for writers. Writers need community. In fact, I’d go as far as to say we need a special kind of community. We need to be around our own species (other writers I mean, not human beings in general although they’re nice too).Writers need to be around their own species (other writers, not human beings in general although… Click To Tweet
There’s a laundry list of reasons engaging in specific writer communities are good for you. Finding the right writer community can result in an awesome sort of synergy that benefits your work tremendously. You can find support for your projects. You can bounce you craziest ideas of people who are all too willing to indulge you. You can find potential collaborators. You can enjoy other people’s writing for a change and maybe find some new favorite authors. You can procrastinate and goof off with other writers (this is important too, in it’s own way). You can get inspiration, tips, and feedback. You can index new readers and build an audience.
And there’re so many more reasons.
Bottom, line. Don’t write in a bubble. Community is one of the best parts of this gig.
That said, the most common advice you’ll hear about finding and engaging in a writer community is to be active on social media, especially the most popular networks like Twitter and Facebook.
While I’ll agree that Twitter and Facebook are wonderful places to hang out and kill some time, I don’t know if I’d recommend them to those looking specifically for a writer community. For one thing, everyone, and I mean everyone, is currently on these sites (and if they’re not on yet, they will be by the end of the day) and so while you can certainly find at least one other person that shares your interests, so will about a million other people. Twitter especially has a bit of noise problem, and it’s challenging if not downright impossible to filter out that noise and hone in on your specific interests.
Some of the newer and lesser saturated social media networks, like Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest, are good places to hang out if you can find creative ways to use them. But these networks work in primarily visual mediums and as writers, our currency is words (but more on visual content for writers in a later blog post).
Overall, I recommend finding and focusing on the online spaces in which writers (and readers) specifically convene. Below are some of my favorite writer communities (in no particular order).
Wattpad – Wattpad is a storytelling community in which users can post articles, stories, fan fiction, and poems, either through the website or the mobile app. This gives people the chance to have their creative works available to a wider audience. The content includes work by undiscovered writers, published writers, new writers, with all users being given an equal chance to write popular works. Users can comment and like stories or join groups associated with the website.
Facebook groups – There are lots of great writer communities on Facebook. You just have to search around and try a few out. Here are a few that I’m in.
Scribophile – Scribophile is similar to Critique Circle except it has a more modern, socially-networked feel to it. The website runs on a currency called karma points. These points are gained by critiquing other users’ works, and you can spend karma points to post your own works for feedback. Karma points are also used around the community for minor things, making it a more versatile system than Critique Circle.
Absolute Write – Absolute Write is a comprehensive informational Website for writers of all levels. Absolute Write offers articles and information about fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, freelancing, and copywriting. Also, they provide information about editing, publishing, agents, and market research. You’ll find links to classes, software, and a large and active online community of writers and publishing professionals.
Goodreads – Goodreads is an Amazon company and “social cataloging” website.The website allows individuals to freely search Goodreads’ extensive user-populated database of books, annotations, and reviews. Users can sign up and register books to generate library catalogs and reading lists. They can also create their own groups of book suggestions, surveys/polls, blogs, and discussions.
Medium – This platform is an example of evolved social journalism, having a hybrid collection of amateur and professional people and publications, or exclusive blogs or publishers on Medium and is regularly regarded as a blog host. You can follow your favorite bloggers and the platform make it really easy to share your favorite snippets and quotes from the articles you like.
Write On – Write On is a place for all the people who make great writing happen. Here, you can get support and provide feedback at every stage of the creative process. You can read fresh stories in every genre and find ones that you love–the kind of stories you want to champion, the ones you know could be amazing if they just got the right input early enough. Write On is a story lab–which means we’re all about experimentation. Post sections as you go and let readers keep you motivated, keep you company and keep you moving in exciting new directions.
Kindle Scout – Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published.
Library Thing – LibraryThing is a social cataloging web application for storing and sharing book catalogs and various types of book metadata. It is used by authors, individuals, libraries, and publishers.
Figment – Covering topics ranging from generic (writing advice) to detailed (cover design) to off the wall (From Gaga to Godfather), this community is both fun and engaging. The boards are extremely active and welcoming. It’s the perfect group to get started.