Many people seem to picture writers as these desperately lonely creatures either high on opium or coffees, mostly likely tearing their hair out as they attempt to reach a deadline. They think us as hermits who only leave to acquire supplies for our art– be that more pen and paper, or more coffee, or a joint.
This is all partly true.
During times like National Noveling Writing Month when we are writing against time to reach 50k in November we very may lock ourselves away and threaten to destroy anything or anyone that may distract us. Some of us are rather aloof or solitude on the whole, even we require others to commune with and discuss our art.
Don’t be a hermit unless it’s NaNo.
We crave to be with others to discuss the bitter pain of our manuscript revision, that character who takes over our plot, that love triangle we can’t dissolve, or that god forsaken writer’s block. And this my friends is why you need to join some sort of writing community.
But what about your fear of criticism you may ask? What about the image of the destitute, suffering artist? My advice: Don’t make the writing process harder than it needs to be. Interact with others of your own species! Join a writing website! Join a Google Circle, a Facebook Group. If you’re not too uncomfortable around people, join something like a university creative writing society! I have, and mine is awesome 🙂
The brilliance of something like a writing society, be that an official group where you meet face to face, or one where you only talk online, is that it brings people of different backgrounds with different writing styles together. And you get to talk hours on end about writing. Or avoid it if that’s what you prefer, haha!
At my Creative Writing Society, we have readings, and we give feedback to one another. Now this is just as daunting as it sounds. You sit there with these strangers and read you work. Out Loud. And they comment and critique it. To your face.
But I prefer anonymity
This is perfectly reasonable and for that you’ll be requiring a website to join. I recommend the likes of fictionpress, wattpad, movellas, and figment. There you can choose to give us much or as little information about yourself as you like, and you don’t have to go through the terrifying process of actually reading your writing out loud.
Out there be monsters…
The benefits of something like a society, or a group in general that you meet face to face is that over time you can really get to know some very interesting people, and you can grow to trust them. The dangers the web include the likelihood of someone stealing your work, unless it’s like movellas.com and people can’t just copy and past you work directly. The danger with anonymity is that people can abuse this and so horrible things about your work and because they think they can get away with it simply because they’re behind this mask.
And these are the tasteful shenanigans my Creative Writing Society were upto during Valentine’s Night…
Basically, we made cynical Valentine’s cards. Woo us! All alone the most “romantic” day of the year, but at least we were alone together!