Historically, writing is something that people consider to be really lonely and difficult, unless you’ve got a good community around you. But, in the last decade, especially, writing a book is more like raising children – it’s not solo, and really does take a village. And that was one of the principles that Indie Author Group was founded on. And we’ve talked about community before.
Why is community so important?
Honestly? There are so many answers to this question, but the key answer has to be that as humans we’re social creatures. Writing is about connecting to another person, so why not make sure you’re connected when writing. And there’s a saying that we oft quote in the group – a rising tide lifts all boats.
No matter what the size of the boat, the community feeling and learning is always about making sure everyone is making the most of their lives. And if they aren’t, hopefully we can help.
It’s also about the fact that writing is done by ‘fleet’. That is, readers will see one ‘boat’ (book) and go for others. It’s just another way of saying we’re not zero sum in the community. It’s not about one person having ALL of the readers, and more about ensuring that people can read and be happy.
Community isn’t just about reading books though, and it’s not just about writing – it’s about sharing knowledge. And if you can learn from and support others in learning from mistakes, either that you’ve made or nearly made, that’s a kindness in the community that can’t be understated.
Community after pandemic
~D Kai Wilson-Viola
During the pandemic, community became one of the single most important things to many people – connection, love, support, it was all there. And I think it says a lot about the state of mental health that this is still the case. And it doesn’t matter if you’re formally diagnosed with a mental or physical health concern, the writing community is all access, all ability, all support.
Finding ‘your village’.
So, you’re a writer, dipping your toe in looking for your community? As I said earlier in the article, we should consider it as a village, and how it takes a village to do everything. You could argue that before self-publishing took off, we found our villages by going to traditional publishers. Now, in many ways, we get to build our own villages, virtually and by connecting with the best we can access.
But how can you access that community?
There’s various things you can do!
I’ve broken down the ones that I find most useful – please remember though, you need to tailor it to your own needs and beliefs. I say this because I use some social media and not others.
- Groups – (like the Indie Author Group) – IAG and other groups are a goldmine of information, both searchable and ask-able. Check out the rules and talk to the members, make the most of the information that’s available to you. And of course, there’s the whole actual human connection and knowing you’re not alone? It’s powerful.
- . Twitter – look out for the #writerslift #Mondayblogs, and #writingcommunity hashtags. Lots of people share lots of stuff there, but if you’re fully interactive in there, you can really grow your following, and your own community. And leading your own community and joining in on others is a pretty uplifting way of being in the community – but it’s also important to remember that Twitter is pretty fast moving and can be quite mean at times.
- Blogs – While it’s more about discussing with other people and going to them, think of blogs more like round tables, or other places to get support. That way, you can read, discuss, and if respectful (always be respectful!), others will appreciate it, and you never know, you might make new friends.
- Communities built around genres – you can look for communities built around your genres – specialist sites and more, it’s important to be aware that these sites usually have uberfans to reach, but can be really hard to feel like a ‘community’.
By far and away, Facebook and Twitter are the best places for me to have a community that I can share with, and I lead one on my blogs. I’m never lonely, I’ve always got places I can ask questions and I’m always motivated by other writers, while trying to support them too!