Why you need to be part of the Writing Community

Writing is often considered a lonely profession, and while it’s true that it’s a solitary task, it does not have to be lonesome.  Even a socially-awkward, highly-anxiety-ridden person like myself, can make connections within the writing community.

Why you need to be part of the writing community. Group of writers working together. Friends. Connections.

A strong network

Humans are social creatures, even those of us who do not thrive in social situations, still need some connections.

Writers often lock themselves away, lost in worlds we create.  It is not exactly healthy to do this constantly and can breed isolation and loneliness.

Strong social connections are proved to be a requirement for good health.   There are studies that show people with support systems in their life, recover faster from serious illnesses or accidents.

I’ve discussed the health of writers before in my article How to keep a Healthy Body and Brain.  But we need more than just physical and mental health.  We need good emotional health too.

Support and Encouragement

The Writing Community, as a whole, is full of mostly supportive, friendly people.  Yes, there will be some less-than-friendly ones, but that’s just life.  Don’t let a few bad ‘uns keep you from reaching out to this network of awesome people.

As writers, we are usually pretty busy.  Most of us have work (or education) that eats up a lot of our time, add in errands and chores, and already there is limited time for creative endeavours.

So what do we do?  We sacrifice time with friends for our writing, we stay up late or get up early, in those “anti-social” hours to write.

We are also often nervous to share our work.  Yet we lose out on the support and encouragement we get from others.

I used to have a friend in Australia, we connected when we were teenagers.  We would send each other scenes and ideas and even try and catch time together on Messenger.  Her enthusiasm for my writing really spurred me on, as did mine for hers.

We would write massive emails back and forth, discussing points and getting excited about where the scene was going.

If I hadn’t received that early encouragement from someone, I don’t know if I’d have ever got to this point.  My family and IRL friends were rarely interested or supportive so all the drive and motivation fell on me and sometimes when I was struggling, it was hard to keep going.

Sadly, I lost touch with that friend after several years.  But her encouragement has always been a push for me to believe in myself and my writing and for that, I will forever be in her debt.

Community not Competition

I know I’ve used the term “Community not Competition” quite a bit, but I really feel it needs hammering home.  Too often I see new writers terrified of connecting with others for fear they will “steal their ideas” or viewing others as competitors to be overcome.

This is unhealthy.  There is plenty of space for us all.  We need to continually reach out, support and encourage each other.  Whether published or not.

Ask about people’s work.  Get excited.  Show interest, show enthusiasm and give support – but above all, be genuine.

Don’t be supportive only in hopes of gaining back.  Do it because you believe in your fellow writers.  Do it because those words of support and encouragement could be just what that writer needs to get through a rough patch.

Share your passions and excitement over each other’s work.  Support them when they try new things and encourage them to keep going through moments of doubt.

 

Accountability

As well as support and encouragement, the Writing Community can help with Accountability.  It has been harder for me to shirk off my writing when a bad mood takes over, with people asking me about my work.

I become accountable to these people.  They help me stick to my schedule.  So whether you end up with real Accountability buddies or just people who randomly ask how the story is coming along, you can find yourself driven to continue.

 

Don’t let being introverted or shy stop you

I’m pretty introverted, add on a nice crazy dollop of anxiety and it really is a shocker I connect with anyone at all.

But then again, I refuse to be defined by my limitations.  So, I (with a lot of stress and panic) push against my comfort zones.  This includes reaching out to random writers (terrifying, I know).  Being online does make it somewhat easier.

Yet from these initial messages, I have made some incredible friends who have truly been a blessing.  They leave kind words, they support my blog, they encourage me to write and are even eager to read my work.

Don’t let fear stop you from reaching out.  Most writers have a Contact page, we don’t add those unless we are happy for people to reach out to us.  So start connecting.

How do you feel about connecting with other writers?

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I want to say a big thank you to a few writers who have really helped me over the years with their kind words and support: Wilmar Luna, Lorraine Ambers, Rachel Poli, Pearl R Meaker, Cat, Tira, Michael K & Andrew McDowell

Also, a big thank you to everyone who reads this blog, who shares their thoughts, who reaches out to others to connect and help them.  Your support means the world to me.

Happy writing

Ari

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61 thoughts on “Why you need to be part of the Writing Community

  1. Pingback: How to build a strong peer support network | Ari Meghlen – Writer | Blogger | Bad card player

  2. Thank you for writing this. I suffer from an anxiety disorder too and it becomes really difficult to write on those days. I also believe in collaborating not competing. There is enough space for everyone to co-exist.

    • I am so glad you found this post helpful. Yes, there is definitely enough space for all of us. It is so sad when I see people always trying to “compete” with each other and thus losing out on great connections and support.

      I know what you mean about how difficult it gets to write (or do many things) when our anxiety rises. We sometimes just have to step back, look after ourselves. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Happy 5th Blogiversary to me! | Ari Meghlen – Writer | Blogger | Bad card player

  4. You make good points and write a strong post, I too believe writing communities boost morale and as such make your work blossom. It is easy to be solitary but we need conversation, connections and new experiences to garner new material too. Thank you Ari.

    • Thanks so much Ellen. Too often writers lock themselves away feeling that they shouldn’t be connecting to the “competition” and so lose out on some great connections and new friends 🙂

  5. Hola Ari, An excellent article. So many writers are either shy/anxious or extrovert/introverts (me). You covered the subject really well, Actually being a human being with all that entails can be a complicated enough business for shy people – I blushed easily until around thirty..but oddly could talk to strangers (albeit a little fluttery internally…) I’m fascinated by human nature and find people eternally interesting, if sometimes baffling…Marry that to the love of words and there’s the reason I write. I belong to Writers’ Ink a great group here in Spain, for whom I Chair. All power to you.

    • Thanks so much for reading Joy. I am glad you liked it. It’s a strange mixed bag being human, we are social creatures and yet so many of us are shy or anxious or introverted, which makes reaching out so much harder.

      Great that you have a writing group, Do you meet up in person or is it an online group?

  6. Great post. I heartily agree community is so important for writers. That is why I founded the #ABRSC Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook so that people like myself could link up with fellow writers share, support and help each other. Together we are stronger. 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment. That is so great. I love when groups are created, it really brings people together. Reminds us all that we go through similar things and we can be there for each other, not against each other.

  7. I’ve been meaning to reach out and grow my network. You’re encouragement of my writing and this post has given me the confidence to do just that and I’ve gained some new connections. Thank you, you’re one in a million.

  8. Pingback: Why we need to keep talking about Mental Illness | Ari Meghlen – Writer | Blogger | Bad card player

  9. Such a wonderful post and so very true about the support we all need and how important it is. ‘Community not competition’ is exactly what we need more of and that message really needs to be heard by more people 🙂 I can’t believe you mentioned me, thank you so much, I’m really touched. You have been such a wonderful friend, especially through my own journey, and when I’ve gone through changing blogs and dealing with so much of the bad stuff from before. Thank you ❤ ❤ ❤ 🙂

    • Thanks Cat. (Sorry for the delay, this melty weather we’re having has had me barely getting online to check comments so I’m now going back through to answer them all)

      Of course I would mention you hun. You are only of the first few blogs I found where we connected and actually had conversations.

      I am so glad to have met you. Here’s to a long and happy friendship 🙂

  10. couldn’t agree more. a writing community is essential. don’t know what i’d do without my weekly writing group. keeps me working to a deadline and an audience for my work. online, or face to face, a writing community is a must have. .

    • Thanks so much Libby. Yes, community within the writing world is definitely essential. It is upsetting to see there are people who don’t realise that.

      They cut themselves off from others, rather than gaining new friendships, new networks, support systems.

      I love hearing about people’s writing groups. Would you be interested in doing a Guest Post on writing groups?

      I don’t currently have any free guest slots this year (so it would be published next year, or depending when you got it to me, I could put it up earlier if I got a cancellation).

      Totally fine if not, but if it’s something you think you’d like to write about, then I’d love to feature your article.

      Details of guest posting can be found on this page: https://arimeghlen.co.uk/guest-posters/interested-in-guest-posting/

      • thanks so much for your invite to write a guest post. i will give your offer some thought. i write about The Writing Life, writing process, and writing tips each week on my blog 🙂

  11. Great article and advice. Joining various writing communities online (through blogging, NaNo, etc.) was the best thing I’ve ever done. Other than my sister, no one I know in real life writes. So it’s hard for my friends to relate to my ups and downs about my career/hobby/passion. I am part of a local writer’s group but we don’t really see each other outside of it.

    • I am the same, no one in my IRL circle is a writer and actually very few are big readers either.

      So the online world with blogging and social media, has really helped to open up the connections to other writers.

      I’m so glad you’ve had the chance to connect to other writers and build a community. I personally am so glad to have met you Rachel 🙂

      • Don’t you find it strange when you meet people who aren’t readers. I once met someone who didn’t like books or movies… I was like… omg I can’t think of ANYTHING to talk about. All topics went right out of my head. :p

      • I do, yeah! Especially when I tell people I’m a book publicist they get confused that I read and write for a living and don’t even know what a book publicist is. I actually went to a new writing group to branch out a little and none of them even knew what it was like. I was like, come on! You’re all writers here hoping to publish someday how do you not know this…?

      • Exactly! I’ll admit I didn’t hear the term “publicist” before I became a book blogger but I very easily put two and two together.

  12. I fully agree we need to support each other. I’m a novice writer and blogger and over the last three years, I have gained so much from many individuals within the WordPress community of writers. Great post.

    • Thanks so much, Chuck.

      I know what you mean, when I came back to this blog with more vigour and determination, I found the community to be thriving with awesome, friendly people who were always willing to share advice and help out.

      Support is so important 🙂

  13. Ari – You do not come across as a socially-awkward, highly-anxiety-ridden person. If anything you come across as a well spoken leader. Clearly you’ve mistaken yourself for someone else. 🙂

    Yesterday I had lunch with two talented writers. They were part of a group I belonged to a few years back and now, with no group of their own, we spoke of getting the band back together. It is healthy and necessary to put your work aside and share time with others who share your passion. It is uplifting and so much fun.

    Your article came at a perfect time. It serves as a reminder to others that they must push away from their writing tables and get out of the house.

    • Lol Thank you. My anxiety is pretty severe but it’s easier to manage online. It will always be a safer space for me though can still cause some intense panic-attacks. :p

      Aww what a nice thing to say. “Well-spoken” is probably more thanks to Grammarly than me, making sure I don’t sound too much like an idiot when I’m typing up my blogs 😀

      I am glad you found this useful and yes, it’s definitely important to make those connections especially if we want to keep from being too isolated. 🙂

  14. Excellent article with excellent points, and not just because I have an honorable mention. Being a part of the writing community is vital, and I’m glad to have joined the Maryland Writers’ Association. I’m touched you would mention me. Thank you also for your support.

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