Last week, while talking about how long it took me to write my book, I mentioned a Usenet group called misc.writing. There was another group, not directly related to writing, that was essential to my finishing my book.
It was a group for feminist stay-at-home moms. We talked about family issues and feminist issues and marriage issues and personal issues. We commiserated with each other and held each other up and laughed and cried together.
This group convinced me that I could write a book. They believed in me. They believed in me so hard, I had no choice but to believe in myself.
One thinks of writing as a lonely pursuit, but the human need for community is strong. And I’ve managed to find community in a lot of places.
When the Internet grew, there were more options for community. Both my writing group and my mom group moved to Facebook. Many individuals from both groups simply became Facebook friends. I also belong to a handful of writers groups on Facebook that are geared toward my genre. There’s a writing community on Twitter that will answer questions and support you and retweet the launch of your books and amplify any major announcements. There’s another on Instagram. It’s a good way to have folks see you over and over and maybe one day decide to visit your website or look you up on Amazon or Goodreads.
I also used Meetup.com to find a writers group in my area. Before the pandemic we’d meet once a week in a hotel bar for a “Shut up and write!” event, which was a way to hang out with writers, share some work, network, and maybe even get a little writing done. You can also got to https://shutupwrite.com/ directly to find in-person events in your area or online events that fit your schedule. You can ask at your local library if there is a list of writers groups or you can use a search engine to find your group.
I’ve attended online and in-person conferences, as well as online workshops, to find community. If you live in or near a medium-sized city, you’ll find some. If not, there are thousands of online ones. You may have to ask around on social media for some recommendations for where the good ones are. (By “good” I mean the ones that fit you and your genre best.)
Networking and finding community is also a great way to market your book, once you’ve written it. After all, you didn’t write that book only for yourself, did you?