If you’ve never been a part of a writing community online, but are thinking about looking for one to join, it can be difficult at first to figure out where to look, how to participate or even whether or not joining an online community of writers can benefit you personally.
You can find online writing communities anywhere—on social networks such as Facebook groups or on Tumblr; Twitter lists; forums or blogging networks. But it’s not enough just to join a handful and wait for something to happen. Like anything else, if you’re going to find any benefit in joining, you have to strategize.
Find a group that fits your style
Do some serious searching around. If you’re a creative writer, you’ll obviously want to look for groups that talk about plot, character development and all the fun and quirky (and not-so-fun, not-so-unique) things writers have to deal with when trying to turn a tale into an actual book.
But if you’re interested in branching out, or you want to try writing blog posts or gain experience writing nonfiction articles, you can also find writers on blog networks or apply to join a team of magazine contributors depending on the subject matter you’re interested in writing about. You can learn a lot from working with others who are looking to gain experience in any field of writing.
Bring your ideas, skills and enthusiasm
Everyone joins a writing community for different reasons. Some are brand-new to writing and are looking for supporters and advice from more experienced members. Some just enjoy “meeting” new people and engaging in conversation about writing topics.
The best way to engage with other writers is to treat your membership like a gem. Dive right in! It’s not necessarily smart to comment on every post, go off on unrelated tangents or start arguments, but the more you share your ideas and enthusiasm for writing, the more others will want to connect with and share their own ideas and excitement with you.
Know that you’ll get out of it what you put into it
Joining any kind of online writing community isn’t just about signing up and waiting for the updates and threads to appear that appeal to you the most. At first you might be a little hesitant to join in, and there’s nothing wrong with poking around, seeing what others are posting and getting a good feel for the kinds of topics routinely discussed with your group.
But joining a community just for the sake of joining doesn’t benefit anyone, and if you’re frustrated no one is interacting with you, take some time to really think about what you’re looking for in a writing community. If you just want to find people to read your work, maybe a Facebook group isn’t the right place for you. If you want to be a part of a team, you have to participate, and sometimes that means starting your own conversations and checking back frequently to keep up with threads.
Joining an online writing community can connect you with people who share similar experiences related to writing, whether it be struggles or triumphs. Writing may be an individual experience, but when we come together with others, we’re reminded it’s okay to support each other, build each other up and contribute to one another’s success in this diverse, competitive industry.
Are you part of an online writing community? Do you find it beneficial to your work? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below—we’d love to hear from you!
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.