Okay, so I’ve given up forums in a (possibly futile) attempt to get more writing done. I’m on freeze for 30 days, and I’ve survived 8 so far. It hasn’t been so bad. After all, I have a strong web of friends I can email.
Where did I “meet” those friends?
Online. In forums and other places writers hang out. The online writing community is a thing of wonder, beauty, and friendship. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked how I got my crit partners, my beta readers, etc.
My answer is always the same: Hang out where writers hang out.
So today I'm encouraging you to participate in the writing community in the way you think will benefit you the most. There's no way on this planet you can do it all, but if you're feeling lost or alone, consider spending a few minutes each day with like-minded people. I think it can make all the difference in the world.
QueryTracker forum. Many people don't notice the "Visit the QT forum" button on the main site. The QTF is a great place to get advice, feedback, and friendship.
AgentQuery connect. This interactive forum is broken down into groups, where you can offer critiques, talk about writing and genres, and make connections with other authors.
Verla Kay "blue boards." This is mainly for children's writers and illustrators, and provides a great place to learn the ropes and make friendships within a specific genre.
Twitter. Specifically the #chats. I follow #YAlitchat and #scifi chats, but there are many many others. Even if all you do is lurk in on these conversations, you're going to find something useful. And hey, you might meet someone there who'll become an important beta reader or critique partner later on.
Absolute Write Water Cooler. Many industry pros frequent these boards, but I've found them the most useful for researching agents.
Blogs. This is where my true obsession lies. I love to read and comment on blogs. I also (try to) respond via email to comments left on my blog, and many of my writerly friendships have bloomed out of this. Click here for a list of blogs you can't live without (via Angela Ackerman) and here for my list of Wicked Awesome bloggers.
From the comments:
More blogs: Nathan Bransford, Query Shark (Janet Reid) and The Literary Lab. (Thanks Rick!) Kristin Nelson (Thanks Paul!)
Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. (Thanks rsgarcia!) I meant to include this, but forgot. This is a great place to meet people and get honest critiques from people who know the genres. There is an affiliated Yahoo group, which I also failed to mention. Yahoo groups are a fabulous way to keep in touch and meet other writers.
BroadUniverse, an organization dedicated to promoting women writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. It's a place to meet other writers and promote your work, not just online but at conventions as well. There's also a Yahoo! writing group and a page on Facebook. (Thanks Sandra!!)
SCBWI boards. If you're a member, you have access to a wealth of information, including a forum. Great place to find local people you can form writing relationships with. (Thanks Kristi!)
Dreaming in Ink Writing Workshop. (Thanks domynoe!)
I hope you've found someone, somewhere that helps you through your writing journey. I think the online writing community is one of the most supportive places, and I love spending time out on the Interwebs, making connections, and sharing the ride.
That said, remember to do what works for you. Only have a few minutes? Start with something small. Need all your spare time to write? By all means, do that. I'm not saying your participation in the online writing community should come before other things you deem more important. I'm just sharing a little slice of what I've found out there, and how it's benefited me.
Where do you hang out? Who have you met there that's shaped you as a writer? What have you learned from participating in the online writing community? I'd love to hear what you have to say!
Oh, and don't forget about our upcoming agent-judged contest! Click here for all the details.