Does the thought of getting involved make you cringe? Well, push that introvert aside because we’re going to talk about the benefits of getting involved in the writing community and the importance of social media. I promise it’s not as awful as it sounds, and you’ll thank me later.
Why do I have to get involved?
Well, you don’t… I guess, but it would be silly not to. These are my top five reasons why getting involved is crucial.
1.) Inspiration and support
Every time I scroll through facebook or twitter my feed is flooded with fellow writers. People sharing their work, asking questions and providing aid to others. Just watching their process, gets me inspired to get back to work on my own. Every day there are publishing announcements, cover reveals, or even just excitement over a new idea. That pushes me to work harder because I know that one day it will be me making the publishing announcement or cover reveal.
Being a writer is hard. We beat ourselves up and some days we even wonder why we do it. I felt so alone before venturing into the community. None of my friends or family write and no one really understood what I was going through. I needed people who understood the difficulties of writing and having a full-time job, people to brainstorm with, learn from and sometimes just communicate the frustrations that being a writer can brew.
Let’s be honest, family and friends don’t always understand why you are writing or even support you. That’s why being involved in the writing community is so important. It’s filled with people who have the same understanding and passion as you do.
2.) Learning experience
Unless you are a cybernetic genius, there is always something you can learn in the writing community. There are publishers, agents, editors, self-published authors, traditionally published authors, and the list could go on. There is no way you are an expert in every category. Aside from that, it is also filled with people who have been in the industry longer and are incredibly helpful. Can you say information overload?
I wouldn’t be where I am now without the friendships I’ve created. One of the most valuable friendships I’ve formed is with my critic partner. I needed someone to be able to talk to about my work and bounce ideas off of. More importantly, someone that understood the writing process. We get along so well, and he is absolutely brilliant! Eventually, you will need critic partners and beta readers for your own work. It doesn’t hurt to make some friends and help them out too.
I am in quite a few Facebook groups that I will share down below with a brief description. Earlier this year, in one of these groups I submitted a piece into a workshop not expecting anything but experience from it. As the year progressed, they announced that at the end they would be creating an anthology that we could submit to once the process was complete. I did, and this past weekend I signed my first publishing contract for my short story The Pianoman. There are many other groups that provide this same type of experience, and some excellent sources on Twitter that I’ll go into later.
5.) Writers are readers
Let’s just say for the sake of this blog that one day you want people to actually read and buy your books. Good thing you’re already tapped into a community of avid readers. Now, this should not be your only goal when getting involved but it is an added benefit. It’s never too early to start gaining a following. But that’s for a later Blog.
Let’s get social
Facebook has thousands of groups that you can get involved in, from very specific to very broad. Three of the groups I’m in have over 20,000 members. These groups are run by publishers and editors that have substantial industry knowledge. Not only are they very accomplished but their administrators are filled with published authors and editors. These are people you need to be involved with.
Writing Fiction is the group I found got my publishing contract through. Publishers, editors, and authors that provide loads of information, fill this group.
Fiction Writing is run by a publisher. He compiles an anthology (The one right now is A Contract of Words) of short stories from the group. How amazing is that? This is an incredible opportunity to become a published author.
Other groups do similar things like training courses for free or low cost. Some are just great for the support. You can do a simple search to find other groups if these are not exactly what you are looking for.
Hashtags are your #friend! You can search hashtags to read the recent posts of those that have used them. The most useful to me are #amwriting and #writing. If you use no others, at least use these two. Not only when searching but on your own work. This will make you visible to other writers as well. Like their posts or dare I say… comment on their work. Follow each other it’s great to support other writers too.
Another great tool to finding other writers in the community is through writer games. The ones I participate in are #authorconfessions and #WIPTruthorDare but, there are so many more! Hashtags are great tools to get social with other writers and find a common ground.
Pinterest is my bread and butter. This platform will focus more on the marketing side than the others. I think I will do a full blog post on Pinterest one day but that is not today. While Pinterest is not very social, it draws the most traffic to my blog and I really enjoy it. Like I’ve said before, it’s never too early to start growing a following and this is a great platform to do just that.
The writing community can be such a supportive place, especially for an aspiring author. There are so many people at the same exact spot you are that are looking for someone to connect with.
If you found these tips helpful give me a like below, it really helps me out. Please, comment below if you have any additional communities that you are involved with on social media that you have found helpful.