Wednesday, October 26, 2011

With a Little Help from Your Friends

People are like paper dolls... Paper dolls and people, they're a similar shape, mhmm yeah...
The deeper I get into this whole writing/publishing world, the more I'm coming to appreciate the relationships I've formed with writers, editors, bloggers, YA aficionados. It can get very lonely, sitting all day at my (beautiful) desk, tap-tapping until the husband comes home and I try to cram eight hours of socializing into the first 15 minutes he walks through the door (this is why we're thinking of getting a dog).

So more than ever, I've been reaching out to people in the writing community, and it's been absolutely wonderful. There's nothing nicer than a shop-talk conversation about the latest YA news or swapping tips about keeping daily wordcount up or guessing which genre will be the next "vampire romance." Aside from the whole benefits of networking, it's great to have a chat with someone who understands exactly what you're going through or exactly what your interests are.

Writing can form some powerful friendships, and those friendships can expose you to new ideas that will in turn better your writing, so I'd encourage everyone to reach out and try to meet someone new.

Aaaand, how? Here are a few tips for making writing friends:

Seek out local writing chapters - SCBWI has a list of local writing groups across the country, many of which hold regular events or get-togethers. You can also find writing groups by searching Google or Facebook

Find a writing partner or critique group - Operation Awesome put together a great post about methods to find a writing partner or critique group. Sometimes they can be a bit hit-or-miss, but when you find a partner in crime, someone who knows and understands your style, gives great feedback, and can answer your fly-by-night "should she kiss him here or here?" emails, it's absolutely wonderful.

Check out blogs and comment, comment, comment - I'm a confessed lurker, I have to say, and I rarely comment on the posts I read, but for creating mini-conversations, the comments section is a great way to share ideas with some fellow-minded people. Some blogs also have dedicated forums, wonderful resources for asking questions or sharing information.

Twitter! - I still don't know how to figure out Twitter (@ symbols? #confused), but I at least appreciate being able to connect so quickly with writers, agents, editors, and bloggers who I admire. And following hashtags are another way to easily see online events (like read-a-thons or blog-hops) which you can be a part of.

Make friends with your friends' friends - I'm always amazed at how many hidden connections there are in the world. People find out you're a writer and they say "Oh! My coworker's cousin's daughter is an editor! You should meet her!"

I'm sure there are many more methods, but the thing I'd suggest the most is be brave. Send friendly emails, go to events, seek people out, put yourself and your ideas out there and be receptive.

Any other tricks or tips you've used to make writing friends?


  1. I live out in the middle of nowhere. Finding a critique group here is like finding water in the Sahara.I wish I had writerly friends out here. But most of the people in my little town have never even *been* to a barnes and nobel (don't even know what it is) it's like a horror movie...really. (Seriously...this conversation happened)

    However, I have found the internet is a great place to connect with people. Inkpop and Goodreads are two sites I recently joined. :D

  2. I second the Internet! I have a fabulous writing partner and we've actually never met, just Skyped. I think sometimes writing groups can be a little overrated, especially if you're critiquing full-length manuscripts. It can get really tedious reading 8 manuscripts and trying to give great comments and edits on each. That's why I'm in favor of one or two writing partners, so you can give your full attention to someone's work (and know they're giving your full their full attention).