QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Writing Community

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.



Erinn said...

Thanks for the list. When you spend so much time in front of the computer, by yourself, forgetting about hygiene it's good to know you can talk to other writers. And they can't smell you either,

Rick Daley said...

The first writing blog I found was Nathan Bransford's:


Query Shark has also been very enlightening (and entertaining):


I like to hang out at The Literary Lab to discuss the craft with other writers:


Creepy Query Girl said...

*Well said!" *creepy lifts her fluke of cheap champagne* "Here here!" I don't know what I would have done without my online writers community. I found a safe haven of like minded writers, great feedback, and friends on my writer's social network The Word Cloud- thewordcloud.org. It really helps to feel like you're not alone in all of this.

Stina said...

I've met some great writer friends/crit partners/beta readers by hanging out on the blogs and AW.

Great advice, Elana! And good luck with going cold turkey. :)

Anonymous said...

I belong to the wonderful Online Writing Workshop for Scifi, Fantasy and Horror. Every writing resource (including QueryTracker), blog or friend I've found has been because of the knowledge and connections I gained at the OWW.

There are a lot of industry professionals there that are willing to share their knowledge and experiences 24/7. Plus, the OWW has affiliated Yahoo writing and chat lists that can be joined by anyone and which provide everything from a relaxing discussion, to speedy answers on every type of writing question from professionals in every field imaginable.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I would like to recommend 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. The website is at www.broaduniverse.org. There's also a Yahoo! writing group and a page on Facebook.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

I've also found my closest writer friends on blogs. It's a great way to get to know potential beta readers - after you've followed them for months, you have a pretty good idea of whether or not your writing and personalities will mesh.

Unknown said...

I love blogs. There are so many interesting people out there in the world. The first blog I found was Nathan Bransford's and I've been reading ever since.

Also, I found both of my amazing critique groups through the SCBWI discussion boards. I don't know what I'd do without them -- they've been such an incredible support!

domynoe said...

I primarily hang out at my writers workshop, Dreaming In Ink Writers Workshop: http://www.dreaminginink.com

I've met a lot of my writer friends online in various workshops/crit groups I've been in over the years.

Julie Musil said...

Elana, thanks for this great post. I've been blown away by the blogging community. I love hanging out with people who speak the language, and I can't believe how much I've learned.

Anonymous said...

Great post!
I've met many of my friends on Facebook! Yep, great avenue. But then the next place is blogging.

I love to blog.
I love to go around and find new blogs to read and connect with. It's great fun. I've met some fantastic people that way!

It's important to connect with people, writers and non-writers as well, to stand by you during the journey to publication. Otherwise, it can be a lonely road. :-)

Have a great day!

Paul W. West, Author said...

Hi Elana,

I noticed you have my blog listed on your site. Just want to say, Thank You.

I agree with your comment that you can't visit all the blogs and writers groups every day. I'm just beginning to realize that. But I do visit Verla Kay's Blueboard site and QT nearly every day along with Kristin Nelson's site as well.

Right now, I need to concentrate whatever free time I have to fixing my current WIP and to finding an agent for my completed novel.

Elana Johnson said...

Thank you Rick, for the links and Sandra, Kristi, RSgarcia, etc. I'll add your links to the post. I totally meant to do OWW, but forgot about it! Oops.


Touch of Ink said...

I recommend Forward Motion (http://www.fmwriters.com/)

They're a supportive group with information for every phase of the writing process, including classes for beginers as well as info from published authors who want to "pay it forward".

Amy Sue Nathan said...

I've met IRL writing friends and online friends through Backspace. Bksp.org Best support, information and writerly chatter I've run across on the web.

kathrynjankowski said...

Broad Universe, I love it! Just signed up. How can I say no to a group that includes my idol, Patricia McKilip?
Thanks for the list, Elana.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I so agree with you that reading people's blogs are a way to make friends. I can't go on boards even though I'd to. I don't have time.

I checked out your list. It's awesome and I'm glad to see I follow some of the same ones you do.

Jemi Fraser said...

I stumbled on Agent Query Connect when it first crossed my mind I might want to see what this whole writing-for-publication thing was about. AQ is a fantastic place! I found my golden crit buddies there. Everything I've learned about writing, querying, blogging, tweeting, agent blogs... has been from there. Amazing place. :)

Melody said...

Thanks for these links, Elana! I've been seriously considering diving into the online writing community, and I was rather at a loss as where I should start!

Silke said...

I hang out mainly on my crit group's boards (passionatcritters.org), but it's a members only forum. I also read many blogs. (Bent on Books (Bent Agency) is one of my favorites)
I don't tend to post much on public forums, though I visit and read.
I "met" my crit partners when I applied to a yahoo group years ago. We soon progressed to a forum and never looked back. It's a tight community, we all write the same genre, so there are a lot of very informed people around.
From time to time we take a new writer into the fold (We're closed right now) and there is usually a long list to get in.
But we're social in there, not everything is about writing, but most of it is. :)