Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Writing Communities: An Indispensable Resource

Alexis Ulrich
            Artistic endeavours such as writing are often done in solitude, but that doesn’t mean any writer can go without the support of a community. No matter what you write, there is nothing like support from your peers to improve your work. Not only do you get to spend time around a diverse group of people who share one of your most cherished interests, you also get to learn from them and teach them a few things yourself. Being a part of a writing community is important for many reasons. Here are just a few:
1.      You get to see things from new perspectives: Sometimes being a part of a writing community is as simple as talking to other writers and reading their work. We all know that people are wildly different from each other, and writing can be like a window into someone else’s mind. That is always beneficial because even ideas we personally disagree with or don’t understand can serve as a platform for our own ideas and inspire us to understand our differences better. A common piece of advice is to write what you know, but note that is only true to an extent. A big part of creative writing is making discoveries and learning as you go. Talking to your peers is a big way to help with that.
2.      You get to know your audience: Every good writer knows that you have to write for your audience. Otherwise, who would read your work? Well, other writers in your community know things about your audience that you might not, and you can share your knowledge with them. What’s more, writers of your genre are also readers of your genre, so they have their own ideas of what they want to read. Talking to your fellow writers is a good way to know whether your work is on the right track to keep people interested.
3.      It’s a great source of motivation: If you’re writing on your own all the time, it’s easy to procrastinate. Sometimes it can seem as if you’ll never get anything done. A writing community provides one of the very best antidotes for that rut: people who are interested in what stories you have to tell. Having people who are curious about your work holds you accountable for getting it done, and that can be fulfilling in itself.
4.      It’s good for networking: Writing groups consist of people at all stages of development, so if you are looking for resources, they are a great place to start. Other writers might know about workshops, agents, submission opportunities, and organizations that you might not have heard of otherwise.
Communities are invaluable to a writer. Not only do writing communities provide a source of feedback and peer review, they hold endless possibilities to broaden our minds, keep us up to date on what our audience wants, provide us with resources and opportunities, and even just give us a reason to keep writing when we might not otherwise. Above all else, being around people who value writing as much as you do might help form new friendships and bonds. Writing may be a solitary activity, but it need not be lonely!

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