Writing is a solo endeavor, but you don’t have to spend all your time alone to succeed as a nonfiction writer. Nor do you have to feel isolated in your “lonely writer’s garret” to be productive or improve your craft. In fact, becoming part of a writers’ group or community can provide you with just the inspiration and support you need to succeed with your writing career.
Recently, several writers in my Nonfiction Writers’ University Masters program began speaking about the fact that they attend the live events I host for members to feel less alone and to have cheerleaders to encourage them. As the conversation continued, I agreed that having a community of writers can be crucial.
After all, even introverted writers sometimes need to feel as if they are not striving alone for a goal. Knowing others are working right along with you—and experiencing similar challenges and wins—can keep you accountable.
Extroverted writers find themselves much happier and likely to continue writing if they spend time with fellow writers. Getting out of the home office and around those who understand can mean the difference between giving up and making it too “done” or “published.”
Of course, a writers’ group can be more than colleagues, friends, accountability partners, or cheerleaders. A writers’ group can become a critique group and a wealth of writing and publishing resources.
If you don’t belong to a writers’ group—or if you don’t have at least one writing buddy, it’s time to reach out to other writers and connect…and to do so consistently. See what kind of difference it makes in your writing and publishing efforts.
September Nonfiction Writer’s Challenge
To complete this month’s challenge, join a writers’ group, or find a writing buddy. Here are six ways for you to accomplish this challenge:
- Look for a local writing club or group. Here in California, we have many local California Writers Clubs. Within those organizations, there also are members who get together monthly to write and critique each other’s work. My local Nextdoor.com group has even formed a writing group in the mountains where I live. Do some research and see what you find!
- Attend a writers’ conference or retreat. Some conferences encourage attendees to find other attendees who live in the same geographic area and form writers’ groups. Even if they don’t, you can meet as many people as possible and collect the names of those who live near you. After the conference, you can reach out and ask if they would like to be in a writers’ group with you. (Or ask at them at the conference.) If you go to a small local conference, you are likely to meet many people who live close enough to meet with in person.
- Find a writers’ Meetup (or create one). Meetup.com is a way to find groups of likeminded people virtually but to meet with members in-person locally.
- Look for writers’ groups online. Facebook and LinkedIn have many, many groups for writers—including nonfiction writers. Although this might start as a virtual writers’ group, you may meet people online who live near you. You can then choose to meet in person. But don’t negate the power of a virtual group, especially since these days you can use the power of teleconferencing to see each and hear each other—even if members live half-way around the world.
- Start your own writers’ group. Starting your own writers’ group gives you the ability to determine the structure of meetings, who gets to join, and even when and where the group meets. Simply put out an invitation to the writers you know—or don’t know—via social media, your email list, or on a site like Nextdoor.com. You can even start your own MeetUp group.
- Find a writing buddy. You may not need or want an entire writers’ group. In that case, just find one other writer who wants to meet with you in person or virtually once a month or more to write, critique, or just talk about writing and publishing.
Final Tips for Joining a Writers’ Group
Here are are a few final tips for completing this month’s challenge:
- Commit to being part of the writers’ group for at least four to six months. You’ll never know if it helped you in any way unless you stick with it for a while.
- Pay attention to the group’s focus. Notice, I didn’t say join a “writing” group. I recommended joining a “writers’” group. If you prefer not to sit and write with others, then you might prefer a group that critiques each other’s work, shares resources, or provides accountability. On the other hand, you might want a “writing” group.
- Go virtual if nothing else works for you. It can be enormously powerful to write with someone virtually. Just knowing someone else is out there writing at the same time as you increases productivity and accountability. Or being able to get on a teleconference call and look at each other’s work or just chat isn’t much different than sitting across the table from them in a coffee shop. Be open to the possibilities.
- Give as much as you get. The reason these groups work is that everyone puts in the same amount of effort and support. That said, you might be the newbie writer in a group with seasoned writers. Kudos to you! They’ll have lots to teach you. But you need to support them in any way you can.
- Join a group where you are not the most experienced writer. You not only want support and camaraderie but also the chance to learn and grow.
I’d love to know how this challenge works for you—what type of group you joined, where you found it, and if and how it helped you move toward your writing goals. So…leave me a comment below! (If you are a Nonfiction Writers’ University member, please comment on the members’ Facebook group. Masters members may also comment here.)
Would you like to write and publish nonfiction work, like articles, blog posts, books, or reports? Check out the Nonfiction Writers’ University. Get the basic education you need and the coaching to help you succeed as a nonfiction writer. Take advantage of monthly live educational and group coaching events. Enjoy a 30-day trial membership for only $1.
Do you want a more advanced approach to your nonfiction writing education? Join the Nonfiction Writers’ Univeristy MASTERS program. Receive ongoing live Certified High Performance Coaching, Author Training, and Authorprenuership Training as well as monthly educational and group coaching events. Learn all the steps to becoming a successful—and profitable—author. Discover how (finally) to write consistently, boldly, enthusiastically, and productively. Develop the mindsets, strategies, habits of the world’s most successful writers. Click here to learn more.