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I love the community we have as writers online. I find it tremendously supportive to know you are all out there, and that we can share our lessons learned along the way. I primarily connect with writers through blogging and twitter, but have also transitioned into the ‘real world' at publishing events and also with the Alliance of Independent Authors. I'm sure you have your ways of connecting too. In this guest blog post Tina Blain talks about the many resources available to make writing a more sociable pursuit.
As writers, we can spend a lot of time focusing on how to connect with our readers.
This makes perfect sense as we want our readers to enjoy our work, recommend it to others and be inspired to read even more and undoubtedly a good connection with a reader can achieve this.
But what about connecting with other writers? Where' s the value in that?
In short, there are loads of benefits to surrounding yourself with other writers. You can share ideas and stories, get advice on things that you're struggling with and tips on where to find useful resources – all of which can positively affect your inspiration and motivation to write.
The main difficulty here is creating an authentic connection in often quite a short space of time (and word limit if you are connecting through social media!).
However, it can be done! Here are a few of my suggestions on how to get started.
1. Master social networking
Engaging in social networking is great first step to connecting with other writers.
Have a look on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn for your favourite writers profiles and use them as a tool to discover and meet new writers through the pages or groups that they offer.
I find that the best first step in initiating contact with a writer is to offer something – appreciation is a good start!
2. Comment on an authors' blog posts
As you have discovered through the www.thecreativepenn.com, there are some really useful, interesting and inspiring authors' websites out there.
Commenting on an author's blog post can be a great way to initiate contact with an author.
I would recommend contributing a useful comment, such as asking a follow-up question to the post or referring to something particular in the post that you liked and why.
Not only will this put you higher on the author's radar and more and likely to interact with you, it also gives other readers of the post something to build on and it may generate a dialogue between several writers.
3. Join an online writing forum
Personally I find online writing forums a really valuable resource for my writing. I particularly like their search function so I can easily find answers and advice on lots of different topics.
You can also post questions yourself and have other members comment on them. Members are usually a mix of published and non-published authors, complete beginners etc. So you can get a wide variety of perspectives on your issue and answers to your question.
4. Go to a local writing event
Are there any writing events happening in your area? For example, a book festival, a book launch, a writers festival, workshops on how to plan a novel or how to improve editing skills, a writers meet-up etc.
There are loads of benefits to the online writing community but sometimes it can be nice to have a good old face-to-face conversation and get away from your computer screen.
Local universities with Creative Writing programs, libraries and local newspapers are a good place to start looking out for writing events in your area.
5. Attend a free online writing seminar
Free online writing seminars or web conferences are another way that you can connect with other writers and hear from an author and ask them questions.
Usually you just have to register for the seminar or web conference in advance and then sign into the seminar with your login details at the specified time.
The tricky part is finding out when they are happening! So simply search the internet every now and then for ‘free online writing seminars/classes' and see what comes up.
It's important to remember though that to build authentic connections with writers, you need to have a mutual and regular exchange of information. This is quite different from connecting with a reader as they read your latest book.
How do you connect with other writers? Please do leave a comment.
Bio: Tina is passionate about writing and communicating ideas. She is the creator of the StorySimplicity free email series, designed to help writers finish the story that they've always wanted to write. More information about Tina's email series can be found at StorySimplicity.com
Image: Flickr CC / rent-a-moose