Writers need writers – this is one thing I’ve discovered while on this writing journey. Even though family and friends are supportive, they will never understand what it’s like to be a writer. Writing, for us, can be exciting and torturous at the same time, but even though it might drive us crazy, we can’t give it up. It’s part of who we are, even when we aren’t writing, ideas still whizz around our heads. And without people being able to understand us, it can make us feel alone, isolated, and a little strange.
Since meeting other writers, I’ve realised that other writers also do all the unusual things I do that other people think are strange. Tomorrow, my writing group is going on a trip to the Warstone Lane Cemetery. Now, everyone I’ve told (the non-writers) think I’m weird for wanting to visit a cemetery, but they don’t understand how fascinating these places are. Every name on a gravestone has a story behind it, and it’s that story that can inspire us with our own writing. Also, this cemetery is an interesting site, thanks to its catacombs, and I can’t wait to explore.
So, as you can see, it is important to connect with other writers, but how do you do that? Well, I have listed five ways for you to meet other writers:
- Join a writing group: I had to mention the writing group first because I believe that all writers can go far if they are part of a good (great even) writing group. I know I wouldn’t have the confidence that I have now if it wasn’t for being a member of the Oldbury Writing Group. Since joining my writing group, I have read out my work, I have gone to writing festivals, I have taken part in charity events, I have been on the radio, and I can voice my opinions. Every time I think about what the OWG have done together, I can’t help but smile because we’ve done so much over the last three years, and we’ve all grown as people not just as writers. It can feel lonely at times when you’re a writer. Yes, you have your imaginary characters, but when it comes down to sending your work out for the world to judge you need more than imaginary characters. You need people who are supportive, encouraging, and fun to be around, and that’s what you can gain from a writing group.
- Connect via social media: For those who fear meeting face to face, social media can be a great tool for you; however, I do believe that nothing beats meeting in the real world. As you all know, there are many social media sites out there, but the ones I use the most are Facebook and Twitter. On Facebook, there are groups where writers can come together and discuss their writing problems, so it’s like a virtual writing group. There are many groups you can join e.g. if you’re a horror writer, then you might want to join the Horror Writers Association.
- Go to a writing festival or writers networking event: It can be very daunting to go to a writing festival and start conversations with strangers – I’m yet to conquer this fear – but this is a great opportunity for you to network and mingle. And you never know, those new writers could become new friends, and those connections could open doors for you.
- Create a blog and connect with other writer blogs: Years ago I found a website called the Horror Tree which listed horror, fantasy, and science fiction story submission calls. And on this website, there were articles written by contributors to the site. I used to always look forward to these articles because it was nice to know that I wasn’t the only writer who had difficulties with being part of the writing world. So, when I noticed that the website wanted more contributors, I decided to apply, and ‘Setting Self Doubt on Fire’ was born. Since writing these blog posts, I have connected with many new writers, and I’m even part of a secret Horror Tree group (chuckles). And not only have I connected with fellow Horror Tree contributors, but I’ve also spoken to people who have enjoyed reading my posts. If it wasn’t for being part of the Horror Tree and speaking to other writers, I don’t think I would have had the courage to join my writing group. So, if there is a website that you would love to guest blog on, or if there’s a writer’s blog that you enjoy reading, then don’t be afraid to introduce yourself.
- Join a writers’ forum or community: I’ve not tried this option, but I’ve heard that many writers have benefited from joining one. In these forums, you can share your work and get feedback, and you can receive support and encouragement when you need it. If you’re looking for a writer’s forum or community, then you could try the Writers and Artists Community
So, there you have it, five ways to meet new writers. I know I wouldn’t be the writer I am today if I had never stepped out of my comfort zone and decided to meet and interact with other writers. It’s great when you can sit with other people and talk about the writing life. I hope you try at least one of these tips, and if you do, please let me know how you get on.
Keep writing, folks!