Friday, October 21, 2011

Developing Your Craft Through Writers Communities

Today, I want to look at writing in a community. This relates to my Connecting with Readers series, though at a tangent. Ultimately, our writing has to be at its best to attract and keep readers coming back. So it is a good idea to learn how to write better. And when I say better, I don't mean simply more polished. I also mean adding to our writer's toolbox (aka, our skill set). The way I see it, the more tools you have, the better off you are. Kind of like the more weapons you have, the more advantages you have in a fight with ninjas.

Ninja Gaiden from
I know. Gratuitous ninja reference. I just wanted to put in a cool picture and call myself a Writing Ninja Assassin, because I'm reading Brent Weeks' The Way of Shadows right now. Humor me. Now back to the subject at hand,

One way to learn to use the tools we have and also to get new ones is to spend time talking with, sharing with, and giving feedback to other writers. You probably don't need to be convinced to join a writer's group, though if you're new to writing you may not know how to hook up with other writers. And if you've been burned, you may be reluctant to put yourself out there again. Or maybe you just haven't made the time to get involved.

Okay, here's why you should find a group: Other writers will sharpen your writing skills. Much like a sparring match against another ninja will help you learn to survive when you have to fight a real battle. No, I'm not comparing a night with other writers to a sparring match (though it can be). I just wanted to continue the metaphor and maybe throw in another picture. (I'm a fantasy nerd. What can I say?)

But seriously, you will learn a lot from listening to the writing of others. You can benefit from the input of others. And writers groups are easy enough to find. You just have to find the right fit for you. Here are a few places you can try:

* Meetup - This website is a source for starting meetups of all kinds, and if there's a writing group in your area, it may be listed on Meetup. I found a great local science fiction/fantasy writers group this way. And if you live in some godforsaken location without a writers group, you can use Meetup to start one.

* PubWrite - This writers group is a great community of friendly writers who support one another. The group has a website and is on Facebook and Twitter. Check out the #pubwrite hashtag and follow @SteveUmstead to get started and see if PubWrite is right for you.

* Story Dam - This start-up writers community is run by @BrandonPDuncan and his wife @DuncanBrandi. I'll post again about Story Dam in a few weeks when it's officially launched, but the goal is to encompass a positive community through link-ups, feedback done right, support, writing prompts, and more. Get on the email list for updates that will tell you more.

* MyWANA - WANA stands for We Are Not Alone, the brainchild of @KristinLambTX. Like PubWrite and Story Dam, MyWANA emphasizes positive writers community. Kristin knows a lot about using social media and she shares what she knows in a lighthearted way. And the MyWANA people welcome newbies, so join in on the fun.

* Write Campaign - This is a platform-building project run a couple times a year by Rachael Harrie. I'm participating in this campaign now, and even with a low level of participation (due to my extra-busy schedule these last two months), I've made some great new friends and even participated in my first flash fiction contest. I wrote the piece in about 20 minutes, which just goes to prove that if I'll be a little more serious about plotting and thinking out a scene's goals before I write it, I'll be able to write faster than I do now.

Turtle power!
Naturally, there are a lot more writers communities than these. But the ones I've mentioned are ones that have worked for me, and I want to share them with you. Try them out and try others too. Be a good community member, not a troll. And enjoy the process. You'll learn a lot and meet some cool friends too. What's better than that?

Next week, I'll be back with more to share. In the meantime, have you tried any of these writers communities, or do you know of others that you think are great? Share, share, share! And thanks for stopping by!

Copyright (c) 2011 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.