I have the opportunity to attend a three-day writers’ conference this weekend with the members of the writing seminar I’m taking this semester. I’m looking forward to it, because it will give me the opportunity to hear from many different writers and learn about some aspects of writing and publishing. Also, Anne Lamott is one of the keynote speakers! (You may have noticed that I really appreciate her work).
I’ve been thinking about the many ways that I learn from other writers. I think community is very important for writers. I don’t mean that you have to be talking to other writers or around other people all the time; there is a time and a place for solitary work. But other people can keep you grounded. If nothing else, they can help you realize that everyone else is just as neurotic as you are :p
How do you go about forming community with other writers? Writers’ conferences and retreats can be a great opportunity to connect with other writers. These getaways are often very influential experiences (or so I hear) but what if you want to start closer to home?
Put out the word and see what happens. You may be surprised to find that you are already connected to more writers than you think. For example, I was talking with one of my friends about my desire to meet other writers, and it just so happens that she is friends with a freelance writer. This may be true for you as well. Your friends or family members may have connections that they’ve never thought to mention to you because they didn’t know your interest.
Another option is to find/form a writing group. I recently discovered that there are two writing groups that meet in my area. This can give you a chance to interact with flesh and blood people, but don’t discount virtual communities. It may be possible for you to find an online writing group, and there are plenty of writers who blog 🙂 Following and commenting on other writers’ blogs is another way to connect with them!
I’ve recently been trying to cultivate relationships with other writers, because this is my last year in school. I really appreciate blogging community and the connections I’ve made even in the relatively short time I’ve been doing this. I’m also trying to be more intentional about the relationships I’m making at school. College provides the chance to connect with professors and classmates, and I want to take advantage of this while I can.
Communities of writers can provide support and encouragement, but they can also allow writers to learn from others’ experiences. I’m really grateful fro the opportunities I’ve had to learn from other writers, and I hope in turn that my experiences can be helpful to other people.
What ways do you connect with other writers? What is the most helpful piece of advice you’ve ever been given as a writer? Let me know in the comments below!