About the Episode
Writing is a lonely activity–we literally write by ourselves–but you don’t have to go at it alone! Today we’re talking about the six types of writing communities you can find and where to find them, as well as what makes for a solid writing friend (hint: friends who enjoy writing don’t always make for solid writing friends).
Click for Transcript
[00:00:00] Being a writer is lonely, and I’m not just talking about the actual act of writing, which we do alone, but all of the stuff that comes along with being a writer. It oftentimes makes you feel like you’re on the outside while the rest of the world is carrying on with their lives and they have no clue what it is that you are experiencing in your writing life.
There’s something that we can do to help us counteract that feeling of loneliness. And I’m talking about finding good, solid writing friends, a good solid writing community. Hi, I’m Rachel Fahrenbach. I help Christian writers write and publish a novel that has an engaged audience ready to buy it. And today we’re gonna get into this idea of a writing community and surrounding yourself with it so that you feel a little bit less lonely on this journey. So let’s get to it.
As we begin to dive into this conversation, I wanna point out that having friends who write and having writer friends are two different things, namely in the fact that [00:01:00] writer friends often want to make progress, whereas friends who write it’s just something they do on the side. It’s a side gig. It’s a thing that makes them happy. They enjoy doing it. They journal, they write poetry, they write stories, but they have no desire to make this their thing. They, it, It is not a career choice. It’s not a, pursuit is not a goal. It is just something they do when they have the free time. Whereas writer friends are friends of yours who are writers. They are people who are trying to make progress in their writing life.
They’re trying to complete a novel. They’re trying to hit a goal. They’re the ones sacrificing their random times of the week where they are, they could be watching Netflix, but instead they are sitting down to write 500 words and get that scene in. These are the people who understand that struggle to find balance in life and in this writing thing that we do.
These are the people who [00:02:00] understand the desire to publish something that can go into somebody else’s hands. These are the people who understand what it’s like to have whole worlds up inside of your head, and the compulsion that you have to put that down on paper. These are the people who are willing to put in the time, they’re willing to put into the money. They’re willing to join the writing organizations. They’re willing to go to conferences. They’re willing to take the online classes. They wanna grow in their craft. They wanna grow in their understanding of the publishing industry. They want to make progress, and they’re willing to come alongside of you and make progress with you too.
Writer friends have a posture of learning together, of networking, of collaboration. They are not just reporting on the things that they’re doing, but they really are coming alongside of you in this journey that you have, and they really embrace the idea of collaboration over competition. It’s about coming together, linking [00:03:00] arms, moving forward, making progress forward together. It is not about watching out, keeping your enemies close, that kind of thing.
These are the ones who are sending you recommendations for a course that they took on email list building that they thought was really great and really made a lot of sense. And they wanna see you grow in your list building. So they sent you along the course. These are the friends who understand that you’re at a certain point in your writing journey and they’re willing to make introductions for you to people that they know in the industry.
These are the people who are saying, Hey, let’s, let’s make a collaboration happen. Let’s do a giveaway together. Let’s, let’s take over each other’s platforms. There’s different ways that you can collaborate with other writers, and these are the writer friends who want to do that with you. They want to come alongside of you. They want to grow with you. They want to support you and be supported by you. These are the writer friends that you need.
Friends who write, understand your love of writing. Writer friends, [00:04:00] understand your love of writing for a reader. They understand the drive that you have to get your words on paper in front of a reader, and they’re the ones who they’re gonna come alongside of you and support you and help you make it through on this writing journey. And you the same thing for them.
So that sounds like a really great person to have your corner. Right? And you’re probably thinking okay. Where do I find them? Where are those people? We’re gonna get to that in just a minute, but first I wanna talk to you a little bit about the different types of writing communities that you’ll find out there, because I’m gonna tell you in a few minutes some places that you can go to start learning about the different communities that you could join so that you can find some of these good, solid writer friends for you.
But first, I wanna explain the differences in different writing communities. That way that you’re prepared that when you join one of them, you don’t have a certain expectation and then it doesn’t meet the expectation of the group.
I have identified six writing communities that you could join. The first [00:05:00] one is a critique group. This is probably one that you’re the most familiar with, especially if you took any writing classes in college. In high school you probably did peer reviews and critiques of your writing. This is probably something that feels really kind of organic to say to somebody, Hey, do you wanna swap chapters? And we can kind of give each other feedback. So that’s one type of community that you can join. Oftentimes, writing communities are focused around this idea of gathering and giving each other feedback on a piece that you’re working on. So that’s one form of a community that you could join.
The next one you could join is an accountability community writing community. This community is not so much focused on critiquing and giving each other feedback more. They’re more focused on keeping each other accountable in the progress that they’re making forward. So they’re checking in with each other each week saying what they’ve worked on, what they plan to work on.
They’re holding each other accountable, giving each other deadlines, that kind of thing. That’s really what that accountability writing community [00:06:00] is about. So when you’re joining a community, make sure that you’re asking questions like, Are you guys critiquing? Are you keeping accountability? Is it a combination of the two or something totally different?
Another type of writing community you might join is just one for encouragement. Maybe this writing community you guys gather, uh, once a month and you just kind of talk about your writing journey at that moment and just encourage one another, maybe offer some tips and advice. But really the purpose here is to just kind of give each other a little bit of encouragement.
It’s not for critiquing, it’s not for accountability. It’s just to say, Hey, I know what you’re going through and you know what I’m going through, and we’re just gonna support each other in that in this moment. And we’re gonna link arms here in this space and just say, Hey, you’re doing a good job.
The next type of writing community you could join is a collaborative writing community. A collaborative writing community, I don’t really see very many of these taking place, but I have seen a few here and there where it’s a group of writers who are committed to supporting one another’s [00:07:00] work publicly, not just critiquing or accountability, but they’re actually like, creating a piece of art together. They’re collaborating in different ways. They’re supporting each other’s work. They’re promoting each other on each other’s platforms. They are really, it’s like this. It’s this group of individuals who are really committed to doing this writing life together and, um, And moving forward.
Sometimes it’s, it’s called like a mastermind, but a mastermind tends to be more on the, the side of like learning something together and growing in a certain skill set. Uh, Collaboration Mastermind is kind of one of those, um, a collaborative writing community is more about the art happening together and complimenting one another, whereas a Mastermind is more about really, um, supporting one another long, more like on a long term basis in the writing journey and in the learning journey. There might be [00:08:00] components of accountability and critique in there.
And so those two kind of overlap a little bit, but they’re a little bit different in that collaborative communities are more about creating an art that compliments each other. And a Mastermind is more about each person creating their individual art, but supporting each other in that promotional kind of way.
Then the last one that I wanna talk to you about is one, that it combines training and networking. It’s not just the encouragement side of things, but there’s like a training component to it. Um, oftentimes these communities either have like a monthly training to them or they have like a conference that is associated with them.
Somehow you’re getting training in the field of writing and publishing, so that is kind of what that community really focuses in on. It’s not just, it’s not just encouragement, it’s not just critique, it’s not just, uh, accountability. It’s really like honing in on giving you training that [00:09:00] you need to continue in your writing journey.
And in doing so, creating a community around that training and that community provides a little bit of a networking for you.
So before I get into, a list of different writing communities that I know of, and I think that you might enjoy being a part of. I wanted to remind you to, like, if you’re watching this on YouTube, like this video, and then subscribe, um, to the podcast on whatever platform that you particularly enjoy listening to the podcast or subscribe to the YouTube channel if you’re watching me on the YouTube channel.
But I just wanna encourage you to subscribe, just to make sure that you don’t miss another episode where we break down these tips on how to have more of an income and an impact from your storytelling.
All right, let’s get back to the list. I know you’re dying to know where do I go find these people? I want these kind of friends. I want this kind of writing community. How do I find it? Where do they. It feels like a unicorn, [00:10:00] so it’s not there so many writing communities out there, so many are so great. They offer so much support and love and encouragement and, um, all the things that you need as a writer, but I don’t know of all of them.
So just understand that this is just a partial list of some that I have heard good recommendations for. I have heard from other people who have participated in them that these are really solid communities, and so I’m gonna share those with you now.
Well, first of all, you might wanna just start with your own network of people, of friends. You might be surprised there might be somebody who is doing this writing thing on the side that you had no idea that it has now become like their thing. I actually had a friend that this happened to.
I had no idea that she was publishing novels. She had published a few of them, self-published them. She had gone through, um, a bunch of training and had figured out how to do it. All of a sudden one day somebody’s like, Oh, have you read so and so’s novels? And I was like, What? She’s published novels had no [00:11:00] idea.
We could have been meeting for coffee and talking about writing fiction, but I just didn’t know. So you might be, you might wanna start with your own network. You might wanna put a, a post out on Facebook or Instagram and say, Hey, I wanna start a writing community. People I know. So if you are a writer who’s committed to making progress on your writing, I would love to meet up with you on this Saturday at this time, at this location.
Um, it doesn’t have to be a Saturday, I just mean like any day like, but give specifics. It is easier for people to say yes or no and opt into something then for them to say, Oh, I’m interested. All right, let’s figure out a date. Like when things are vague, it’s hard for people to opt into it and say, So give as many specific details as you possibly can.
I wanna meet on this day, at this time, at this location to do this, and then see who responds. You might be really surprised, there might be people you didn’t know are making progress on their [00:12:00] writing journey, and they want to come along and be a part of your writing community.
Also within your local community, look at different libraries and churches and community, uh, like community centers. They oftentimes have these writing groups, and a word about the churches don’t. Feel weird about it if you don’t go to that church. I have been a part of writing groups that were at churches that were not my own people kind of understand, like there’s not that many writing communities out there, especially faith-based writing communities.
If a church in the area has a faith-based community, the people are in there are not gonna like, give you the side eye because you don’t go to their church. Like that’s not gonna happen. So, Don’t forget to look at churches outside of your particular denomination, your church and your denomination in your area.
Other churches of that denomination in your area might not have writing community, but others in the, in the area and it maybe a different denomination of church. Might have a [00:13:00] writing community for you, so make sure you check those out. Libraries, community centers, churches, they have writing communities.
Next, check out Facebook. There are a ton of free Facebook groups writing communities. Now, I know that might be a little awkward at first, but just join them. Start participating them. See if you’re a good fit. If not, it’s okay. You can leave the group like I think sometimes we feel like we’re committing so much when we join certain things and I think you really just kind of have to hold it open with a level of curiosity of like, is this a good place for me? Can I find a spot here? Is this the right space for me right now? Like just how, hold it open with an open hand curiosity.
Make sure that you are just giving it a good try, like don’t just come in and hang back, back and watch everything that’s happening. Participate, like be active to begin with and see if it’s a good fit for you.
So the next place you could possibly find some writer, friends, writer, community [00:14:00] is within, inside of professional or um, associations. You might, uh, You might not have even realized that. There are professional associations out there, like the American Christian Fiction Writers Association that are focused on providing training and networking opportunities. Those are really great places. They’re often, there’s a fee associated with them sometimes. But something like the American Christian fiction writers, uh, they actually, it’s only like a hundred bucks for the year. So, Worth looking into joining and seeing if it’s a good fit for you. They tend to be bigger in scale, but they often try to cultivate, um, opportunities for you to have smaller connections within that smaller communities, within the larger one.
And along the same lines of professional associations are online writing communities. There’s a lot of these that have popped up in the last few years. They’re considered membership sites, so you typically play either monthly or yearly fee to be a part of [00:15:00] these organizations. These online writing communities, they’re oftentimes just jammed packed with amazing information, amazing training, amazing connections.
Amazing networking, networking possibilities, and they really. Help you to feel like you’re a part of something, a part of a writing community. It helps you to feel seen. It helps you to make connections. These online writing communities really help you make progress in your writing. And so it’s really great to be a part of them.
So I’m gonna just list off a few, I’m gonna look at my notes really quick so I don’t forget which ones I wanted to tell you guys about. Um write That book is one that I have heard is a good one. Word weavers is another. Flourish writers. I’ve actually taken some, I’ve done some summits with them before.
They do a really nice job. Um, Compel is a newer one that’s, um, also really well done and Hope Writers that’s the one I’m a part of. I personally have found some really solid writing friends from Hope writers. They do a really great job of [00:16:00] cultivating community, cultivating a very, like, embrace one another, encourage one another. We’re coming alongside of one another. We’re not competing with one another. It’s really one of the kindest writing communities I have ever really been a part of.
I have been a part of a few writing communities that just did not feel like that they didn’t feel. Like we were being supporting one another. It felt very much like we were in competition with one another and it was not fun to be a part of, but that’s not what hope writers is like and it’s also not what a lot of these online communities are like at all. I personally have not been a part of any of the other ones as a member, I have sometimes taken trainings from them, but HOPE writers I have been a part of for the last couple of years, since 2019, and I have. Again and again, been impressed by their level intentionality, their level of dedication to the people who are part of their membership.
And so I personally love it and always tell every writer that I know to come join me that in that community.
If [00:17:00] you wanna check out any of the different writing communities that I have mentioned in this episode, I have linked to them in the show notes, so make sure you check that out. Also, if you are wondering.
Okay, what’s my next step? I know where, what kind of friends I need. I know where to find them. But what do I do once I find them? Like how do I support them? How do we support each other? How do we really like link arms together? What are like, how do we do this thing of being solid writer friends to one another?
We’re gonna talk about that in a future episode, so make sure that you are subscribed so you don’t miss it when it comes out. When we meet back here, I hope you will have found some good, solid writing friends, or at least begun the process of doing so. I will see you next time. Bye.
Check out the Writing Communities Mentioned in the Episode:
American Christian Fiction Writers
Also: Be sure to check out my RESOURCE page for Fiction writers. I’m adding new resources to it often, so make sure you check it out!
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Hey! I'm Rachel and I'm so glad you're here today!
I help Christian fiction writers figure out how they can make an impact and an income from their storytelling while keeping rest a priority.
You can learn more about how I’m in your corner here.
And you can learn more about my personal journey here.
One last thing, if you’re looking for a bit more rest in your life, be sure to check out the Rest & Reflect guided journal.