It’s not unheard of for writers to go days, weeks, or even months without talking to people who aren’t one of the characters in their current novel. This can make the life of a writer pretty lonely at times. Writing for a living can also be overwhelming.
One way to combat this loneliness and keep from becoming a hermit is to seek out other writers. I’ve put together a list of the best communities for writers so you can keep at least one foot firmly planted in the real world.
Best Communities for Writers: Spend Time with Your Tribe
What follows is a list of the best communities for writers. Go here when you need motivation, get stuck, or just need to vent about something your character has done, because only other writers will understand why a rogue character is so frustrating.
Figment is a fun and engaging community of writers. Their “Featured Fig” section provides a little nugget of wisdom from a different writer once a week or so for you to reflect upon. The “spotlight books” section of recommended reads is helpful. There are also contests, polls, and even a “figment chat” where you can put questions to top agents, editors, publishers, and even best-selling authors like James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner series.
Hatrack River Writers. This is an active forum with topics that include how to critique, writers’ market guidelines and links, writing challenges, and personal setbacks. A particularly unique thread is “Character Interviews” where you can create a topic for your character. Other writers pose questions to your character which you respond to “in character”. It’s a great way to flesh out the backstory for a character or avoid having that cardboard, one-dimensional character.
National Novel Writing Month is a popular writing challenge/contest for writers. The goal is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. There are even in-person “write in” events where you can meet up at designated locations to simply “write” amidst others who are writing. Fill out a profile, give your WIP a title and announce it to like-minded writers. Communicate with other writers, earn badges, and get inspired.
Get Feedback and Critiques
No writer can thrive in isolation. So, once you’ve finished that work and edited it yourself, it’s time to ease it into the world by getting some feedback from other writers. Fresh eyes can be very valuable to see what you missed and trading critiques is mutually beneficial.
Critters. This writers’ community is celebrating 20 years and is run by Andrew Burt, former SFWA vice-president. Critiques are a major focus of this group that numbers in the thousands. Membership is free but you are required to commit to critiquing a set number of works by others once a week. The focus is on Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.
Note: I know from experience that this is a great community. It is very well run and members take constructive critiques very seriously. When I submitted work several years ago, I received well over 15 detailed critiques from other writers that were extremely helpful.
Critique Circle was founded in 2003. If you’re looking for a community where you can kick back, take a breather and just chill, this might be it. Critiques are a large focus. One of the popular threads is the Procrastination Lounge, which seems a fitting topic for many writers. It’s an overwhelmingly younger crowd of writers. The majority of members are of the millennial generation.
The Next Big Writer is a community of serious and professional writers that offer feedback and critiques to other writers. If you’re looking for a more formal network of writers willing to give you honest feedback, this group might fit your needs.
Marketing and Promotion
BookRix is the place to go if you are going to self-publish your work. It’s a thriving community that covers a wide range of topics to help you write better, find help to self-publish, and overcome obstacles.
AgentQuery Connect. This is a forum bills itself as an “online social networking community for the publishing industry”. This forum is designed for those who are at the near-publishing ready stages, or who have a completed work to promote. It’s the place to get advice from those who have been around the block.
Stay Current on Industry News, Trends, and Legal Issues
Writer’s Guild of America, East (WGAE) a professional labor union designed to represent film and TV writers on the East side of the Mississippi.
You’ll find great training for writers offered here as well as industry news and information on legal rights of writers. If you are working or want to be involved in film, radio news, documentaries, animation, or even late night comedy shows, you’ll want to consider membership.
Writer’s Guild of America, West (WGAW). This is also a professional labor union representing film and TV writers in Southern California and Hollywood, of course. Even without a membership, you’ll find great industry information here. A must-have resource for any play, film or TV scriptwriter and really anyone who wants to create for television, radio, or big screen.
The Authors Guild was founded in 1912. Originally located in New York City, its mission was “to protect the rights of all authors, whether engaged in literary, dramatic, artistic, or musical competition and to advise and assist all such authors.” A great resource for writers to stay on top of current news and industry trends, find writing contests or grants, and get book recommendations.
Great Websites for Freelance Writers
Make a Living Writing by Carol Tice is a great website run by Carol Tice, who is passionate about helping writers to get paid.
Problogger is a crucial and authentic resource for writers who want to make money blogging. Their job board is a quick and easy way to find high-paying writing gigs.
These are what I consider to be the best communities for writers. But there are literally thousands of clubs, guilds, and communities out there. The key is to single out the ones where the majority of members write regularly and are getting paid to write. As a writer it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, to become isolated, or mired in rejection. Seeking the best communities for writers can help to improve that and to get you back on track.