5 Reasons Why You Need a Writing Community

Tuesday, February 17th 2015 • Advice, Writing

Taken from WillWriteForChocolate.com

WillWriteForChocolate.com

As a Creative Writing major in college, I had a writing community built in. I would show up to my two or three (or sometimes four) writing classes a day, freshly printed drafts in hand, and pass them out for workshopping. There was structure for the feedback we received: sometimes, peers had to write comments on the drafts, or they were graded for telling us the positives and negatives during class. It was fluid, varied based on our different professors, but it was always there, that community. That community that made sure that, at the end of the day, I had written something. And more than that, people read it, and then they told me all about how they felt.

I cannot stress enough how important something like this is for a writer, and how much better it makes your writing. I also cannot tell you how hard it can be to find and keep this community, but let’s get to that next time. For now, let me tell you five reasons why you need a writing community.

Reason #1: Writing is not a solitary job.
No matter what you have been told, writing is not something that you do alone. You do not disappear into a coffee shop, hammer on your keyboard for five hours, and produce a perfect draft. Beyond that, when it gets to publishing, you will never be able to avoid people (whether you want to or not). There will be someone telling you to put more conflict here, to take out the description here, to hack off a chapter or two. Even if you go the self-publishing route and you do the cover, the editing, the formatting, and everything else by yourself, there will still be that last part. You know, the one where someone reads your work. A writing community helps make sure that you’re ready for those parts where other people get involved. They’ll save you by telling you that you named one of the characters two different things. They’ll tell you that the pace is too fast, or maybe they’ll tell you that it’s not fast enough. They’ll point out plot points that you weren’t following. It helps because, even if you don’t take the feedback, you’ll at least make every decision knowingly. If someone says they find your protagonist unlikable in a review, you can be confident knowing that you knew that, that you intended that. It will make all the difference.

Reason #2: Writers understand you.
Imagine that you’re out to dinner, listening to your friend’s story, when suddenly, you hear it. Someone having a hissed argument right next to you, and you know that it’s just the right dialogue for your story. If you’re like me, your hand’s itching to grab the notebook in your purse to write it down. If you’re with another writer, there’s no question. That notebook’s out before they finish their sentence, no apologies needed. It’s the beauty that comes with befriending other writers: they get that there’s no pause button on life, and when you see a great writing opportunity, you need to take it.

Reason #3: They know all of the great writing places (coffee shops, museums, and secret hideaways).
There are no exceptions to this rule. My writing friends have introduced me to some truly incredible spots.

Reason #4: They care more about your characters than you do.
It makes all the difference. In the past, I’ve felt beaten up by a draft, and then I walked into a critique group where people were asking about my characters. They wanted to know if I’d worked on a specific scene, or if I’d fixed my villain issue. Hearing that concern, or hearing that people wanted me to finish something, was enough to keep me writing.

Reason #5: This is a hard business, and you need friends.
It’s true. We face so much rejections as writers, and we face it at every stage. Ideas might be off, or a chapter might not work, or our favorite agent might turn down our best project. That’s when you need other writers to lift you up and to tell you to just write 200 more words. Then 500 more. Then, before you know it, you’ve written the entire draft.

Happy writing!

V

© 2013 Veronica Bane. All Rights Reserved.