Writing Communities

Writing can be a solitary undertaking, and for years I have enjoyed that aspect. I am, after all, an introvert, so I don’t mind the quiet time to myself. And I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of a local writing group for nearly four years, so that’s provided a good amount of feedback and encouragement.

Lately though, and I’m really quite surprised to find myself saying this since I think I could be quite happy as a hermit, I’ve been thinking about writing communities. A lot. It crept it’s way into my post last week. I find I keep writing about it in comments I leave on other blogs. And to top it all off, I am smack in the middle of creating one in my own community and even on this site.

And to be honest, it’s great, it’s wonderful, and I wonder why I’ve been hiding from it all this time.  I kind of feel like a flower who received a little sun once a week, and now I’ve discovered I can be out in the sun all the time and flourish. For years, I’ve been secretly wondering where all the other writers in my community hang out. Where does one go to find out about local writing events? I’d search online, but rarely find a posting in time to attend an event, or I’d find an event that occurred the month before. So I adopted the “build it and they will come” approach.

I didn’t realize it, but there was part of me who couldn’t fathom creating something to fill this void I’d been feeling in my own community. I thought, surely someone else more qualified than myself would organize something to gather all these amazing writers in town, and I’d stumble upon the group one day, join, and then I’d know what other writers were up to and where all the events were happening. But four years passed, and I never found what I was looking for.

Then, that fiery passion I have for writing, and that deep desire to help other people sparked an idea. It started simple enough, I asked my writing group if they’d like to come up with a name for our group, so that one day maybe we could help facilitate some writing events in our community. At the very least, I thought we could be a hub for other writers who didn’t belong to a writing group. They could come to us, we could put them in touch with other writing groups looking for new members. Voicing these ideas out loud was all I needed for them to spark into larger projects.

For starters, I’ve long wanted a poetry slam in my community. The closest one is about a forty-five minute drive from here, which isn’t bad, but it’s not fun to drive back home at 11 o’clock at night. I think we have enough authors here to support a literary open mic. It creates an event that supports more than just poets. I started a Facebook group to gather the writers in my town, so we can share local writing events, create connections with other authors, find writing groups and beta readers, and support and encourage each other. Eventually, I’d like to have a quarterly event that brings this community together in person, so we are more than names on a screen.

I’ve learned over the years that while the writing process can feel like a lonesome one, it actually thrives in a community. When the days come when I’m filled with doubt, a community is encouraging and will bolster me until I regain my confidence. And it is such a special privilege to do the same for other authors. I can see so clearly another writer’s ability and future potential, even when they are on the brink of calling it quits.

The thing I know, is that anyone of these projects I’m putting into motion requires a community to pull off. I hope that by gathering other writers who have a similar vision (because believe me, I couldn’t do it alone) that each writer who joins will feel invested in seeing the community succeed and will take ownership and help keep it going.

I think I’ll take this lesson into the future with me. I will try to create what is needed to fill a gap in the writing community. My hope is that others will be drawn to these projects and help them succeed.

 

 

Tell me, what do writers do in your community? Is there something missing from your writing community? Do you think you could be the spark that ignites the passion for writing and put something in motion to bring your community together? What about an online writing community? Where do you like to go to connect with other writers?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Comments


  1. // Reply

    I’m appreciative that you’re working to build more of a writing community in Cheyenne, Mandie. We have a lot of good writers here, and it’s not always easy to connect. Thank you for making me a part of it.


    1. // Reply

      I’m thankful to be making the connections with local writers and to have the help in making these ideas happen. And I’m so happy to have met you at the conference, and that you’re willing to be a part of it.


  2. // Reply

    Awesome, good on you!

    This is more in terms of a virtual community, but I’m working on a really bad habit of mine of throwing my word on WordPress but not really talking the time to get involved with other people on here. There’s a lot of talent on this site and I really should be regularly checking out the poetry tags and jumping over to other people’s blogs, which is what I used to do and am trying to improve on now 🙂


    1. // Reply

      I think that’s great that you’re working on trying to get back into the online community, Maggy. I think you’ll find it worthwhile. I’ve made wonderful connections through reading other writers’ blogs. And what’s surprising is people are publishing their work for other people to read for free, and that’s such a gift. And I’ve found beautiful, exciting, creepy, thought-provoking, and overall rewarding pieces that I never would have come across if I wasn’t connecting with other writers. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read! Hope to see you again. 🙂


  3. // Reply

    It’s funny, there’s so many things for writers where I live…groups, workshops, classes, etc., but I don’t attend any of them anymore! I don’t find it helpful for some reason – if anything, I feel like being in a writing group used to stifle my creativity because I wasn’t really writing in my own voice. It’s great that you’re creating writing communities of your own… Sounds like a supportive environment.


    1. // Reply

      I wish there were as many opportunities here as there are where you live, but part of the problem is that I think there are more opportunities than I’m aware of and I’m missing out. I certainly understand what you are saying. I stumbled into a group that I’m pretty sure is the best writing group around. But I’ve heard so many horror stories, even from members of my own group, about groups they’ve been part of before. I think there are writers out there who could help build your creativity instead of stamping it out, but the downside with where you live is given there are so many opportunities and thus writers, it might be harder to find that group of people.
      Had I stumbled into a different writing group, one, I might not be writing now, and two, I might be enjoying that hermit lifestyle as we speak.
      I think that’s part of the reason I want to bring together our community here. I think different writers thrive in different writing groups, and we’ll only find the group we thrive in if we have the opportunity to meet more writers in our community and test the waters of the different groups. Hopefully, if one group doesn’t work for a writer, they’ll move onto another group.


  4. // Reply

    Since I write in English (my second language) and live in Sweden there is not a lot of local opportunities here (especially not for poetry)… So my community is all online. Since a couple of years I run one and participate in others… which is a great experience.

    I belong to a local writing group, and we have now written two short story collections…

    Recently I have thought about doing an online broadcast for people to read… I tried out to do broadcast on Facebook, and i think it might work and have people calling in with Skype to do the reading… maybe that would be something to practice together.


    1. // Reply

      Wow, Björn, I like hearing how you overcome these obstacles to write poetry in English. That is incredible.
      That online broadcast sounds like fun! If you decide to do it, feel free to send me some information through my contact page. The form goes straight to my email. You may have to walk me through the process a bit, I’ve never tried anything like that before, but I’d be happy to test it out.
      I like how your limited opportunities have caused you to think on a larger scale on how to create other opportunities. 🙂


  5. // Reply

    Where I live, people don’t really see writing as a passion. I only know of one person in my community who is determined to write and be published and I work with him in helping to build up his writing. He’s a brilliant writer. I love meeting writers here on WordPress, Twitter, and Wattpad. I’m grateful for meeting you.


    1. // Reply

      That’s interesting and unfortunate that you don’t have many people near you who are interested in writing. I’m happy to hear that you are supportive of the one other person you know who is interested in writing in your community. That sounds very much like you, you are very supportive and I love that about you. It’s good that you’ve found ways to connect with writers, even if you’ve had to reach outside of your community. And I am so grateful for meeting you too!! 🙂


      1. // Reply

        Yes, I don’t think many people here know how many things that they can do with writing, because most of them are interested in making quick money. I also befriended this girl who used to write, but somewhat stopped because she did not have enough support. I got her back into writing. She is one of the best writers I know and now she’s planning to publish a book of poems. Thank you, Mandie. I love supporting people any way that I can. Have a blessed day. 🙂


  6. // Reply

    Last year at an Ozark Writers League conference a speaker encourage all of us to become “Literary Citizens.” It basically means to be participants rather than just spectators. I think it’s great that you’ve taken the initiative to create a place where others can find opportunities to grow and polish their craft. Kudos to you.


    1. // Reply

      “Literary citizens.” I like that, Russell. That will be the difference between this community succeeding or slowly fading away. And to be a successful author you have to participate in forming the path for your career (or hobby). If we all sit back and wait for it to fall in our laps, we may never get anywhere.
      Thanks for this. I will head into this day being mindful of being a participant and not a spectator.

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