A writing community is a group of writers. Or is it a gaggle of writers? Not sure why, but gaggle has a better ring.
So, redo: a writing community is a gaggle of writers who meet to discuss the writing life, help each other out, or attend workshops. It’s a great way to connect with other writers, learn and hone your craft, or just talk shop to someone who actually understands the industry.
Thanks to the internet, one can enjoy the benefits of a writing community in even the loneliest places (er…the backwoods of Bavaria, for example). Online writing communities are hugely popular and huge in number. There are hundreds (maybe thousands?) for a writer to choose from — if you google writing community, you get over 170,000,000 results!
So where do you even begin? Well, I can help you out and tune you into a few communities I know.
One of the first online communities, one of the largest, and certainly one of the most famous. It’s huge and can be overwhelming, but it’s reputable and supportive. Useful for all writing skill levels.
Well-known, heavily populated, and with something for everyone. It’s essentially a forum where you can connect to other writers about All Things Writing. I also know some agents who lurk on there in search of potential clients. Just a heads up. Useful for all skill levels.
This is an enormous professional organization, meant for the romance writers of the US. However, there are so many writers, so many chapters, so many niches, and so many workshops that you don’t actually need to be a romance writer to join. I have romantic elements in my fiction, and that was enough to qualify me.
It’s an expensive group to join for the first year (yet the annual renewel fee is paltry), but it’s 100% worth the price! The RWA has power and protects its members — it really works to help each and every member reach their goals. The RWA also hosts one of the most well-known annual writing conferences.
If you write romance or fiction with romantic elements, I cannot recommend this association enough. Useful for all skill levels. Especially helpful for beginners. Downright necessary for advanced writers or professionals.
This is a special interest chapter of the RWA. Like most special interest chapters, monthly workshops are offered in addition to an online forum (via Yahoo! Groups) and other members-only benefits.
The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. If your target audience falls anywhere under the age of 18, then you have to be a part of this community (I’m pretty sure it’s a law or something). Like the RWA, the SCBWI has its members’ interests at the heart of everything. And, like the RWA, there are lots of local chapters. And, also like the RWA, there is an annual membership fee. Necessary for advanced writers or professionals.
Online Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshop
An enormous community of spec fic writers devoted to critiquing each others’ work. It costs — though only $49/year. Trust me, it’s worth it. There are some really big names in this community, and the feedback is always helpful, always educated. These are writers who are devoted to their craft, and they’re devoted to helping you improve yours. Useful for all skill levels.
I joined this community at its inception, and I’ve watched it grow into an enormous world of writers. Don’t let the cheesy covers on its homepage fool you — it’s not just a haven for bodice-ripping-writers. It’s got writers of YA fiction, steampunk, mystery, fantasy, and more. The membership benefits far outweigh the annual membership fee. The workshops are what really make this community shine. There are 20+ workshops available each month that cover all sorts of topics — from plotting to query letters to book trailers. Useful for all skill levels. Especially useful for beginners. Also great for intermediate or advanced writers.
This is a great place for young adult writers. You can get critiques on your first pages, your query letter, your synopsis, or you can join the ranks of writers submitting to the agents connected with YALitChat. There are teenagers who will read the first 25 pages of your MS; there are groups where you can talk to experts in certain field; and there are all the other writers you can connect with! It’s where I met my crit partner, Holly. Useful for all skill levels.
I’m actually pretty new to this group. It’s rather humongous and a bit overwhelming, but there’s a place for everyone on She Writes! You just have to be a woman, of course. From freelance writers to bloggers to novelists, there’s a spot for you there. Useful for all skill levels.
This is a small group with a forum conducted on Yahoo! Groups. Lots of great articles and resources. Plus, you can contribute your own articles — you’ll find some of mine on there. Useful for all skill levels. Especially helpful for beginners.
And that just scrapes the surface of what’s out there! Here’s a list from Writer’s Digest, and here’s another list on Squidoo.
The options are vast and diverse, so dive in and see what works for you.
March 28, 2013 @ 1:27 pm
Hi Susan, have just arrived on your site, finding my way around, and will get to suss out the site next month as I am busy moving house, but I feel ‘gaggle of writers’ makes all writers sound like geese, who are only really good enhancing country scenery, good watchdogs too, and for fattening up for the pot. Would not ‘a world of writers’ sound better? Just a suggestion, as I love words and look, it is your site, but gaggle is so close to ‘gag’ and ‘gobble’ that it rings odd to my ears, and distorts my sight. Looking forward to joining the sight, you were not sure yourself what to call a collection
of writers. Hope this helps.