The absolute best thing about a writing community is the support you get from other writers. You quickly realize that you are not the only one struggling to write anything. Writer’s block happens to everyone, grammar errors are common, chaos ensues when your desert raiders accidentally become dessert raiders and the local FroYo will never be the same. Editing sucks. Even the people who get paid to edit deep down know it sucks (just kidding for any proofreaders out there. I’m the one with the issue.).
It is also a writing community is a comfortable place to share with others your joy and success. Just sat down and wrote 2000 words, awesome! Just figured out how to fill that nasty plot hole, high five! Just got a story accepted in (insert name of the publication that you think is popular, but probably isn’t), outstanding! The support from your fellow writers often makes you want to quit your job and write full time (Don’t quit yet. Dave will be pissed.). There are a few who want to steal your sunshine and rain on your parade, but for the most part, most writing communities are full of the best people on the planet.
“Where do you find these lovely communities, Arthur?”
I’m glad you asked random made up person (who for the purposes of this blog is Rachael Ray, and she’s madly in love with me). I have found the easiest way to connect is through social media. I prefer Twitter (@ArthurUnkTweets) others stick with Facebook or Instagram. It is a personal preference and honestly depends on how much time you have and how comfortable with technology you are. For me, social media gives my brain the warm-up it needs to be productive. 280 characters are about all I can handle most days.
I do not live in a big town and there is no thriving artist or writing community that I can find. There are about 6 creatives in a 30-mile radius, and we hate talking to each other. I had to drive over 30 miles from my house to meet and have breakfast with @AJCainoffical (coauthor of our soon to be published horror story Misery in Chaos). In-person clubs in my town meet so infrequently that the members often forget they are a part of it. If a social club last more than two meetings around here, alcohol is usually involved.
But I digress, Twitter, for me, has been an outstanding platform to keep the creative juices flowing. I can put the story ideas in my head out into the Twitter-sphere and almost immediately see what works and what doesn’t. It’s almost like a giant group text that you actually want to participate in. I’ve had to learn how to play the hashtag game to get in touch with the right audience for my writing.
For example, if I don’t have any followers and I want feedback on a story, I cannot just write something and throw it into the ocean of the interwebs. I have to use a corresponding # symbol to “tag” my work for others to find (#horror, #romance, #humor, #hashtag). There are entire communities built around certain hashtags. They tend to fall into 2 basic categories: daily and weekly. A leader amongst writers (usually the originator of the hashtag) chooses a prompt word, phrase, or situation and the rest of us write a story based on that word. It is rumored that some can even fashion a single micro-story using multiple prompts and hashtags (I like the extra challenge).
A great daily hashtag community I participate in is known as #vss365 or very short story 365 days. Once a day someone will give out the prompt word and the writing community does the rest. Below are some examples:
The results are often amazing. It is like reading a good book every day. Sometimes it’s only a scene other times it is a complete micro-story.
Then there are the weekly communities (This is by no means a complete list. I participate in stories for all the prompts shown below.):
Monday (#MurderMonday, #Monsense, #LoveLines, #Meta4Mon, #MartialMonday)
Tuesday (#SockItTueMe, #TimeTravelTues, #TueStories, #TrickyTues, #Brt2sDay, #TuesTropes, #FoodParty)
Wednesday (#TalesNoir, #WeirdWriters, #WackyWed, #1LineWed, #WFWed, #WineWords)
Thursday (#FeelLines, #WriteThurs, #Thurds, #ThursTale)
Friday (#FriTease, #FridayKiss, #WhoNeedsAHero, #FriDare, #SciFiFriday)
Saturday (#POVPrompt, #BadWordSat, #SciFanSat, #SuperheroSat, #SciFiSat, ##SlapdashSat)
Sunday (#SeduceMeSunday, #SongSun, #SunScribbles, #SaidSun)
Whew! I bet there is a book that could be written primarily in tweets (jots a note about making a Twitter book). I have gathered a lot of good ideas and utilized parts of my brain I didn’t know still worked. It all comes down to one thing: putting words to paper/screen.
The only way to get better at writing is to do it. I have failed over 100 times to get something published anywhere this year. I plan on using all that experience to eventually finish off my larger works. I’ve worked harder at writing than anything else I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve planted the seeds and the harvest to come is going to be beautiful.
Good luck and happy writing.