Elizabeth: Community Support

Writing can be a solitary business–just you, a blank page, and the characters in your head clamoring (or not) to get out.  We’ve talked before on the blog how important community is in the stories we write and it’s equally important for us as writers.  Whether it is a group of critique partners you brainstorm with; friends you do writing sprints with; or more formal organizations that provide conferences, support, and mentoring, a strong writing community can make writing both more connected and more productive.

Many of us were members of Romance Writers of America back when we first started this blog and enjoyed meeting up in person and learning new things at their annual conferences.  After RWA’s crash-and-burn a few years back, that community fell apart.  Some folks stayed with the organization–helping build it back better–but others took a step back and looked for other supportive communities.

Since that time, RWA has undergone quite a transformation–new board members, new strategy, new programs, a new award–and they are continuing their work supporting authors.

Romance Writers of America® (RWA) is a nonprofit trade association whose mission is to advance the professional and common business interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy and by increasing public awareness of the romance genre. RWA works to support the efforts of its members to earn a living, to make a full-time career out of writing romance—or a part-time one that generously supplements their main income.

While the traditional RWA annual conference may be gone, this year they are hosting an in-person Summer Retreat with workshops, networking time, and quiet spaces for writing.

Join your fellow romance writers at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, July 14-17, 2021, for a few days of recharging and refilling your creative well at the RWA Summer Retreat

I’m not quite ready to jump on a plane and fly to Tennessee for a retreat, but I’m definitely looking for ways to rebuild my own writing community.  The pandemic has made that challenging, but now that we are all getting out and about more, there may be more options to choose from.

So, what does your writing community look like?

Are there any groups/organizations that you belong to that you would recommend or sites/blogs that you have found particularly helpful?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

6 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Community Support

  1. It’s not exactly a writing community, but I’ve found Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula Facebook group to be absolutely vital for my first stumbling steps into indie authorship. If I wanted line-by-line critique, I’ve found Scribophile to be a welcoming community, but for the really broad (and then detailed!) conversations about writing and books, THIS site has been invaluable. In addition, I think it’s hard to share stuff about writing unless you really trust the person; both to take the feedback, but also to give it.
    I’ve asked dear friends of mine to give ‘no holds barred’ feedback and good grief, it’s hurt sometimes, but they wouldn’t bother if I was going to ignore it, and I wouldn’t take it unless I thought they had my best interests, and that of the book, at heart.

    I’ve tried some online book discussion sessions and some of them are really quite uncomfortable. So for me, it’s a rather private thing.

    I ought to grow a thicker skin, I imagine, but for now, the community I have is very precious.

    • I’ll have to check out Mark Dawson’s Facebook group; I’ve heard it mentioned by a few other people as well.

      I definitely agree that it’s hard to share stuff about your writing, without trust, especially when you’re getting “no holds barred” feedback. When we went through the McDaniel program, one of the most challenging part putting our writing out there and accepting the feedback without wanting to crawl away and cry. It was a safe and trusted environment, but it was still difficult.

  2. I should join that Mark Dawson Facebook group. It sounds like it’s very active and I’m sure the advice offered there is invaluable. I just hate Facebook, in part because I don’t understand it. However, I can put that on my goals list for 2021. I mean, what else have I to do?

    This is not nearly as useful as what Sara’s suggesting in terms of writing and publishing, but I belong to the writers group Sisters in Crime. I think they do a great newsletter. I find out all kinds of things related to the publishing industry that I wouldn’t know otherwise. They offer classes and webinars, too, but the newsletter itself is not really nuts-and-bolts, and I haven’t tried any of the classes. I just enjoy reading the publishing news. 🙂

    • I’ll have to look up Sisters in Crime, Kay. I’d like to have a good source for publishing industry news. I used to read Publisher’s Weekly but lost interest after time.

  3. This brings up a question I’ve had about “sharing a chapter” or even the premise of your story before it’s ready for prime time. Do any of you have concerns about having your work plagiarized?

    • I remember worrying about plagiarism once, when someone I knew outlined a story she was planning to write, which was exactly the same outline that I had revealed to a friend of hers when I was describing my next project. The first thing that (didn’t) happen: she didn’t write that book. And then, I calmed down. Even if two people begin from the very same outline, the outcomes will be very different. So now I have no worries on that score.

      Pirating material is another thing altogether, however. There all kinds of torrent sites out there that rip off books and offer them for free. The losses to individual authors and publishing houses are incalculable. You can work fulltime sending takedown letters and usually the result has as much effect as spitting in the ocean. I know some publishing houses do their best to uphold copyright by threatening these sites; I think indie authors probably don’t have the resources for it.

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