Too many writers write in isolation. For years, they slave away on their manuscript. And one day, fed up of the torture, they send the thing off to a bunch of literary agents, who dismiss it with a cursory glance.
Torture ends in disappointment, and if they don’t give up then, it’s only stubborn pride that keeps them going.
If the act of writing is a solitary activity, then being a writer doesn’t need to be. In fact, it ought not to be. Spending time with other writers will not only make you a better writer, but it’ll help you get your book published.
But if you’re like most visitors on this site, then you don’t know where to start.
Thankfully, it’s never been easier. And once you’ve shared a drink with that first group, you’ll hear of more groups, more events, and writers being a friendly bunch, you’ll soon know an entire community.
Chances are you’re only a Google search away from getting your foot in the door. Meetup.com has open writers’ events in most cities. State and national writers’ associations are also a good resource. They often keep lists of writing groups, and are happy to share them to those who ask.
Don’t forget poetry readings, spoken word events, and open mics. The less organised they are, the more likely they are to be full of writers.
Paid-for writing workshops/conferences/retreats can be excellent. If people attending need to pay, then you at least know that they’re dedicated to becoming better writers.
But what if you live in the middle of rural Nebraska? Granted, it won’t be as easy as New York, Seattle, London, or Paris, and you’ll have to work harder to find writers you want to spend time with. But it’s still possible.
Offline, check out local universities, community colleges, and so on. A two-hour drive each way every week is most certainly a worthwhile investment.
Online, start by searching for online writers’ groups/workshops. Participate in these forums, focus on giving good feedback, and soon enough, you’ll have people who want to help you.
And if you prefer the immediacy of human contact (as we would), you can then start a workshop over Google Hangout with the people you’ve met online, and with others you’ve met at workshops, in cities, and so on. Google Hangout isn’t quite the same as being in the same room, but it’s still an impressive free alternative.
Between all of these methods, you ought to be able to find a bunch of people with whom you can grow into a better writer, people with whom you’ll better enjoy the writing journey.