As I discussed last week, having a network of writers to help you through the writing process is essential. Why? Because writing, no matter what the form may be, is hard work. It tries you emotionally, mentally, and sometimes even physically in ways that only other writers will understand. Today, I want to give you some tips on connecting with writers online, because going out into the world isn’t always an option. Before we get started, I want to add a quick word of caution. ALWAYS be safe when initiating conversation with someone virtually. Use common sense, and never give out personal information. Alright, let’s get started. Here are five of the best ways to connect with other writers via the web.
№ 1: Use Writing Hashtags
Social media outlets are a great for connecting with writers if you know how to use them. You can post all you want about the project you’re working on, but if you’re not using the correct hashtags, no one will see it! There are hashtags for all different aspects of writing: the process, marketing, publishing, and by genre. Erica Verrillo, the author behind the blog Published to Death, has compiled a very helpful list of 234 Hashtags for Writers, which you can read here. She has helpfully split them into groups based upon the purpose of your post. Not only should you be using these hashtags in your posts, but you should also be looking them up and finding people whom you can initiate conversations with. If someone posted something that speaks to you, comment and tell them. The worst that could happen is you get no response, and then you’re right back where you were anyway. Also, be receptive to anyone who initiates conversations with you. They are likely to be on the same type of search as you are!
№ 2: Join an Online Writing Group
Online writing and critique groups are great resources for sharing your work. Not only can these groups give you feedback, but they will keep you accountable and provide support when writing gets difficult. There are a ton of writing groups on the internet, so sorting through them can be a bit overwhelming. Here are some things to consider. First, are you willing or able to pay to be in a writing group? Although there are some benefits to writing groups that require you to pay, such as accountability and more professional editing, many of the benefits to joining these groups, do not necessitate payment. Another way to sift through the many writing groups out there is to think about some of the marked characteristics of your manuscript or your writing in general. What genre do you write in? What age group are your works geared towards? Are you a poet, novelist, short story writer, non-fiction writer? Where in the writing process are you? You are going to want to find writers that are around the same stage so that you are able to relate to each other and help one another. Furthermore, it doesn’t do you much good to have a critique group that is well below your skill level because they will just drag you down. You also don’t want to be in a group that’s way above your skill level because that could have negative effects on your confidence and therefore, your progress. All of these things are important to consider when searching for a writing group. When you begin searching, start looking on social media, or asking other writing friends what groups they are in. Before you know it, you’ll have tons of groups to choose from.
№ 3: NaNoWriMo
Although NaNoWriMo isn’t for everyone, it is a wonderful for connecting with writers, and make some serious leaps and bounds on a manuscript. What’s great about NaNoWriMo is that everyone is going through the same process AND the NaNo website is built for this sort of socializing. The key to this is carrying those connections beyond the month of November. Check in post-NaNo with the writers you connected with and see how their work is coming along. You can also ask them to read parts of your manuscript that are giving you trouble. Having this common experience will help you relate to other writers and will always give you something to talk about. Visit the NaNoWriMo site here, and see if it’s for you.
№ 4: Writing Contests
There are a ton of benefits to doing a writing contest. However, I’m going to take a shortcut here and let one of my favorite vloggers Kim Chance explain them to you. Watch her vlog here! If you’re searching for writing contests, I would start at Freelance Writing. They have an extensive list of writing contests with no entry fees, which you can view here.
№ 5: Share Content Online
This can be original content, or content from other writers and/or bloggers. As far as original content goes, there is an endless amount of topics to write on. You can do book reviews, record your writing process, and even give writing advice. Also, remember those hashtags we talked about before? Use them to promote your online content. Furthermore, you can connect with and help other writers by sharing their work. Quite often, sharing another writer’s article can stimulate conversation, and they will be incredibly grateful to you for helping them market their work. It validates their efforts and facilitates connections not only between you and them but between them and anyone you know who may have seen the content you shared.
This list merely skims the surface of the many ways you can get involved with the online writing community. I encourage you to try some, or all of these tips because sharing your work with others and connecting with writers who are in the same boat as you are some of the most important parts of the writing process.