Hello hello! Since I’ve gotten this question more frequently lately, I’ve decided to make a dedicated post:
How do I make friends in the writing community?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: having fellow writers in my corner is one of the single most important parts of this journey. Writing is often by nature a pretty lonely endeavor, with many hours spent alone, typing away at a story you hope will one day be on shelves. When I finally started making writer friends, it made everything so much easier. My writing started improving as we’d swap our stories, and I felt more confident even calling myself a writer (if you write, you’re a writer, by the way. The end.) They’re able to empathize with the highs and lows of this volatile journey, and it’s a place where I can share my dreams and cry about them without judgment.
It can be really difficult to explain to non-writers why we put ourselves through this publishing gauntlet. So often, it’s filled with rejections, heartbreak and tears, but we do it because we love writing more than we love the bad. Having fellow friends who understand that strange push and pull has helped my mental health immensely. Having people to scream with when I’d get a full request, or someone to cry with a particularly tough rejection, has made all the difference.
Okay, okay, you get it: having writing friends is fantastic. But if you’re new to the community or are on the outside looking in, it can be daunting to know where to start. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I hope it helps! Also, if you ever want to reach out to me about your journey, please do! I love meeting fellow writers!
A very easy way to meet more writers is to jump on the #WritingCommunity hashtag on Twitter and introduce yourself. A lot of writers will say something like “I’m new to the #writingcommunity and would love to make more writer friends! I write XYZ and my current project is about ABC.” Check out the hashtag and you’ll see an array of these posts, so either respond to a few to say hello or make your own intro post.
Apply to mentorship programs. I have an entire post dedicated to this if you want more details, but some of the main ones are are Author Mentor Match, Revise & Resub, Rogue Mentor, Write Mentor, and Pitch Wars. They’re all a little different, but in short, mentee hopefuls will submit to anywhere from 2-4 mentors who have their own wishlists/guidelines, and mentors will then choose one mentee to help them polish their manuscript, query letter, and sometimes more. Some of these mentorships also include a showcase at the end, inviting literary agents to review the manuscript’s premise and usually the book’s first page. Check out the links for more details on each specific mentorship!
Many, if not all, of these mentorships have fun hashtags or “parties” associated with them, so be sure to follow them on Twitter and/or Instagram and join in the convos! To meet other writers, I’d either tweet publicly about submitting, or jump into other Twitter convos with mentee hopefuls. I met new writers and became closer with friends I already had, and these friendships went far beyond the submission itself, but to revisions and the ups and downs of the query road and beyond.
Some mentors will even match writers who they think will be good critique partners, so again, it’s such a good idea to apply even if you don’t get in.
Attend writing events, virtual and in-person. There are a ton of writing/bookish conferences events both in-person and online (granted, there are fewer in-person events currently), and getting to meet people in person either while in line for book signings, waiting in line for panels to begin, or simply meeting people in person who you’ve met online is a great way to build those relationships. I highly recommend checking out Manuscript Academy, Writer’s Digest, and WriteOnCon for a wealth of virtual and in-person events that can both help you make writing friends and improve your craft. Many of these are free!
Be active on social media (to the best of your ability). I’m not saying you should live online, but if you want to build those foundations and friendships, it’s best to interact with tweets/Instagram posts, and ask questions of your own. Most of my friendships have grown organically simply by us slowly talking more and more to each other, liking each other’s posts, sharing encouragement, and having a genuine interest in each other’s successes (and in the times when things aren’t so sunny). If you find Twitter intimidating, you can head to Instagram as well (and others, I’m sure, but I have less experience elsewhere). Please look out for your mental health!
Research if there are any local writing clubs in your area. I haven’t personally done this, and pretty much all of my writing friends are online, but I’d love to know more writers near me.
If you have other tips, I’d love to hear them! Good luck out there, and I hope your writing journey is fulfilling and supportive.
Sending chocolate chip cookies and French press coffee,
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