I think I’ve touched on this before in my posts about inspiration, but I wanted to go more in-depth about the importance of finding a writing community for yourself.
I want this to be clear:
You DO NOT have to isolate yourself to become a writer.
Listen, I’m an introvert. I get the draw of being alone. I mean, my primary writing time is 1-3 am. It is quiet. It is peaceful. It is mostly devoid of people.
But the thing is, this solitary time and my writing time just happen to coincide. Neither is required in order to do the other. It is a preference, not a requirement as far as being a writer is concerned.
Late at night just happens to be when my mind is where I want it to be when I’m writing. For some people this time is early in the morning or even on a lunch break. Again, it comes down to preference.
There are times when I actually end up writing better in the middle of the day when there is chatter going on in the background. Back in college I would sit in one of the noisiest places on campus (the basement of the student union) and I would write. Sometimes being a little distracted from a writing project was exactly what was needed in order to write it.
Consider this: if writers were truly meant to be isolated, why do so many of us enjoy creating while in the middle of a busy coffee shop or Panera Bread or what have you?
But it goes beyond not having to be isolated to be a writer.
I do not believe that writing is about competition.
I believe that every writer should have a support network of fellow writers, people who can relate to the struggles that come with the craft.
These fellow writers can be found in a huge variety of places from classes to Facebook groups to coffee shops to…
You all get the point.
A writing community that I really started to embrace over the course of this last month was the NaNoWriMo twitter community. Participating in writing sprints put on by accounts like @NaNoWordSprints helped encourage me to finally reach that 50k mark in the month of November.
Through that account and by using #NaNoWriMo2016, #NaNoWriMo, #AmWriting, and other similar hashtags, I had some nice discussions with other writers from around the country (and I think one or two from elsewhere in the world).
On top of that, I am lucky to have developed lasting friendships with a lot of other writers back in college. Having small classes and taking multiple classes with the same people was great. We supported each other in the classroom and continue to do so post-graduation.
Going even further back than that, I have a friend from high school that I still talk to about writing. We work well together when it comes to figuring out details and challenging the fictional realities we each work to create. We know we can always bounce ideas off of each other.
From these experiences, I can tell you that going it alone doesn’t have to be the case.
Find those friends, peers, heck, even strangers who both compliment, challenge, and support you as a writer. Talk to them. Hang out with them. Help each other grow as writers.
I truly believe that my writing community has helped me become a better writer, and I hope I have had a part in fellow writers feeling the same way about their personal writing communities, too.
Do any of you have thoughts on this topic, friends? Do you agree that writers should develop a network of fellow writers? Or do you disagree with that? I’m interested in your thoughts, as well.