Why Every Writer Needs Community



There was a time in my life when I wasn’t writing at all. I wanted to write, but I was convinced I had no talent so I shied away from the whole thing. I stopped writing for good in college, and then after I moved out to the West Coast I didn’t pick up the pen again for another six years.

It was a bad six years.

During that time I didn’t know any other writers. I assumed that I was a freak. I heard voices in my head, I saw visions that unfolded into epic stories, and I had vivid dreams that were too complex to write down. When I told anyone about this stuff, they looked at me like I was completely crazy.

Then, I joined a writer’s group.

Slowly I met other people like me. Other writers. People who got it when I explained about the voices, the visions, and the dreams. People who experienced emotions like I did—in wild streaks and splashes of color. People who were just as intense, sensitive, and obsessive as I was.

It was a huge relief. Not only to know that I really wasn’t crazy, but also to share what was maybe the biggest hidden part of my life with other people who were having the same experiences.

Last year I started blogging and met even more writers online. And now, every day, I am extremely fortunate to talk to other writers about everything that matters to me. I get emails from writers about new characters who just popped into their reality, or other characters who have suddenly gone rogue. I’m in ongoing Twitter conversations about the latest book I’m reading (and have, of course, become obsessed with) and what book I should read next. My Facebook stream is filled with bright images of creativity in all forms.

Writers have a reputation for being solitary creatures. And while it is true that we need time to ourselves to write regularly, and space to play around in our imaginations, we also need friends.

Writers need friends in their lives who are also writers.

Writer friends are the people who get what’s going on in your wacky head. They support you through the angst of that first rough draft, the euphoria of finishing, and the tedium of all the drafts that have to come after. They understand the magical connection you have with your characters, and that when something happens to them, it’s also happening to a part of you.

If you already have a cadre of amazing writer friends, then count yourself lucky and tell them how much you appreciate them as soon as you finish reading this post. But if you don’t have any writer friends, or you want more, make today the day that you reach out. Start following a writer’s blog, or start a conversation with another writer on Twitter. Recommend a book you love to another writer on Goodreads. Join that writing group in your community that you’ve been thinking about for so long.

Make today the day that you bring another writer friend into your life.

Because it’s time. And we really do need each other.

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