Here at The Writer Community, providing a space for writers to connect, learn and grow has always been at the forefront of everything we do. So who better to advise you on how to build your community than the confounders themselves. Read on for their top tips and tricks.
Megan Beth Davies
Without this community, I literally wouldn't be where I am today. Over the years, I have tried and failed to write just one book, and now, after two years building my community, I am on number four. That is the power of an amazing community. They lift you up; they encourage and motivate you; they support you through the ups and downs and many of the amazing people I have met on here I count amongst my dearest friends. I have laughed over a glass of wine with them, ranted to them after a bad day and confided in them.
But it wasn't always like this.
When I first joined Instagram, I was so alone. I was trying to write my first book during NaNoWriMo, having no idea what I was doing and no writer friends to talk to. I thought I would join Instagram to find some writing buddies.
The first 6 months were pretty silent, to be honest. I tried to connect with a few people, but it felt forced and unnatural and I was on the verge of giving up, until a few things changed it all around:
Challenges - first, and probably most importantly, as it set everything else in motion, I got involved with the Instagram Fantasy Challenges. Not only did I meet Skye and Sydney there, but it forced me to interact with more people on the platform. It was a lot of work (sorting out the prompts, getting everyone involved, posting every day) but it was so worth it. Many of the people I met in those early challenges are some of my core community today, and it was that which prompted us to start a similar concept for The Writer Community. Everything else grew from there.
Confidence - one of the great things about getting involved in the challenges was the fact that it increased my confidence tenfold. I started putting myself out there more, messaging people who inspired me, commenting on people's posts, asking people's advice, and I learned something important: people were just as shy, but just as keen, as I was to make connections. Every person I reached out to was wonderful and amazing. Through just some random connections, I met my critique partners (talking puppies with Kat!), I became and Beta reader and ARC reader for people's books and I did some wonderful buddy read alongs. I honestly can't stress enough how putting yourself out there made such a difference. I know it is scary, but I promise you that people are pretty amazing in the writing community.
My Story - once I gained the confidence to reach out to people, I then gained the conviction to share more about my story. This really helped me grow my community as people who were readers and/or writers of my genre then wanted to connect and swap chapters, talk about ideas and just generally geek out on fantasy or historical fiction. Your story is something that ties you to people, so don't underestimate the relationships it can foster. I have certain friends where we just send each other steamy historical romances that we love and this is the kind of friendship I have been waiting my whole life for!
So there you have it. Get involved, put yourself out there and connect with like-minded people, but most of all, be kind; lift people up, celebrate their achievements and be there to support them when they need it. We get what we put out into the universe so spread love, light and positivity and you will get it back in kind.
Community is so important in everything we do. Sure, there are actual tasks that we complete individually, but behind that there is a group of people who come along side us and help us or are there for us when we need to reach out.
Writing is no different. While the act itself is entirely solitary (for the most part), a community is instrumental in our success. For me a community is a sounding board when I need advice or opinions on something. They encourage me and help me to stay focused and positive, they are supportive, not competitive and they don’t bring you down. As you get deeper into the community, you develop relationships and friendships and this is where your community becomes so much more than just a group of like-minded individuals.
I am selective about my community because I want to make sure that I’m getting as much quality interaction as I can, and that I can return the favor to those around me. That choice has been such a blessing. I can check in on people with their personal lives and watch them grow in their success and celebrate with them. I’m also able to go to them with my struggles, getting direction or encouragement. That is invaluable to know that we all genuinely care about each other.
All that being said, I encourage you to start building your community! Get involved in one like The Writer Community and then curate it for yourself; tailor it to your needs and you will start finding success in even more areas of your writing life!
When I first joined Instagram, I remember the fear of not knowing what I was doing. It’s terrifying to just decide one day that you’re going to try to create an online presence for yourself, and not only that, but you’re going to use it as a place to promote your business—your art. I didn’t know how to find other writers to connect with. I didn’t know what I should post about, or how often I should post about it. Basically, I was a baby bird just learning to fly for about a year!
It doesn’t have to be that way though. Writing may be a solitary art, but there is no rulebook that says you need to go through it alone. In my opinion, finding a community to connect with is just as important as writing your actual manuscript. Whether these writers are in your genre or not, finding someone who you can talk to about writing will ground you on your journey to becoming an author. Many people in our lives may not understand the importance of our art. But other writers? They get it. They get what it feels like to struggle with the self-doubt that your art just isn’t good enough. They get that rejection hurts. They get feeling stuck, like the next sentence just won’t come out right.
I’ve been very blessed to have found sound many amazing writers through Instagram. Even more so, I’ve been blessed to be a co-founder of this incredible community. Sydney, Megan, Rachel, and I only ever wanted to give other writers a place to express themselves, but it has grown into so much more than that. It is a place to learn from one another, to create and tell stories, and a place to grow with each other in a world that sometimes feels like a rabbit hole of inspiration.
If you want to start finding your community, I recommend starting here. Start by engaging on The Writer Community posts, using the hashtags, and interacting with the Brand Ambassadors. You can also use the monthly prompts if you’re not sure what to post about, and find others who are doing the same! It’s scary, but once you put yourself out there, you won’t regret it.
Yes, writing can be a solitary act, but it doesn’t have to be.
It strikes me that the art form which requires the most participation from its audience to come to life is also one of the few which calls to mind images of someone hunched over a typewriter alone in some dusty corner of their home for hours on end. All it takes to break that image in your mind is to reach out.
When I first started writing, I was the only person I knew interested in it. My high school didn’t have any creative writing courses and when I went to university, I joined as a music performance major. I could talk to friends and family about what I was doing, but it was hard for them to follow because writing and storytelling were never passions of theirs the way they are mine. That’s a challenge! Because art has always been created to be shared.
Social media, while daunting, has proven to be one of the most powerful weapons against the solitary nature of writing. At first, however, it can feel a try lot like whispering into a void. And I did whisper for quite some time before I found my voice and others with whom to speak. Now, I’m so grateful to have found wonderful friends who share a passion for my same craft and support for one another.
Here’s how: I reached out. I commented on posts, showed genuine interest in others’ work, cared about what they did and how we could help each other. Then we started talking more frequently. I formed a writing community, then a group of authors to share and critique our work together, from whom I’ve learned and grown so much. I couldn’t be more grateful for where I am now, and it all started with reaching out.
Meet The Writer Community Co-Founders
Megan Beth Davies is writer of fantasy and folklore with a generous helping of romance. She grew up by the wild English sea, reading old fairy tales by Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson and Andrew Lang. She studied languages, classical literature and ancient history through her school years, inspiring a lot of what she writes today. She writes tales that transport the reader to another time and place and speak to the heart.
Megan lives with her partner and cockapoo in a hundred year old Edwardian house on the South Coast of England. When she is not writing, you will find her reading, hosting historical dinner parties or practicing yoga (albeit badly). She is currently working on her debut fantasy novel. You can follow Megan on Instagram @meganbethdavies or follow her on goodreads.
Rachel loves all things Young Adult. She writes and reads in multiple genres...as long as it’s YA. Her current dystopian series, The Corporation Series (Caste, Outcast, The Heir), is available now with the last installment coming out in 2021.
She lives in Idaho with her husband and two kiddos. She loves coffee, music, dance, the outdoors, and a good handbag and pair of shoes. And she is still in search of the perfect scary movie. You can follow RaeLynn on Instagram @RaeLynnFry or visit her website raelynnfryauthor.com to learn more about her and her books.
Skye Horn is author of the best-selling YA Fantasy Romance series, Kingdoms of Faerie, who is obsessed with telling stories full of magic, myth, and legends. She lives in the mountains of California with her husband and two fur-babies, and enjoys the beautiful, quiet mountain escape for writing. Skye hopes to inspire a new generation of young writers to follow their dreams. The first three novels of her debut series are available now, and the fourth and final novel is set to release early 2021.
Sydney Alexis is the author of the forthcoming YA High Fantasy novel, The Daughter of Dawn, written at just 18. Based in Southern California, Sydney will graduate in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in French horn performance, her other passion. Alexis, a self-proclaimed nerd, cites her greatest writing influences to be her love of anime, video game plotlines, fantasy novels, and epic music. Through her work, both with the horn and the pen, Sydney aims to inspire young musicians and writers to chase their own dreams.