Writing Communities: Pros and Cons

I can’t help it, Squiders. I love bulleted lists. It is a horrible addiction, and I swear that I am searching for help so that one day, hopefully soon, I can be free of their indented glory.

If you’re a writer and on the internet, you’ve probably come across a writing community. They do tend to be everywhere, from social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter, to individual websites, to special “invite-only” communities where you have to meet some criteria to get in. You could have a different one for every day of the week–or month–if you really wanted.

It’s hard to know which one is right for you, and it’s entirely possible that you could belong to one forever and then realize, over time, that it’s not providing what you need anymore. So, is it worth it?

To the bulleted list!

Pros

  • Other people who understand you and what you’re going through
  • People who can offer advice and are willing to work through issues with you
  • Support system
  • May offer challenges and contests to help you practice and try new things

Cons

  • Can be highly distracting and a time drain
  • Like all organizations, there will probably inevitably be drama
  • May not get the support you need or may be at a different stage than everyone else
  • May find it hard to break into established groups

How do you feel about writing communities, Squiders? Are they essential or a distraction? Any that you’ve found useful over the years?

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Do you participate in a writing community? I’ve been so afraid of the Cons (and, let’s admit it, a bit trapped-in-my-own-world) that I have sort of circled the topic but not gone looking for one.

    Reply

    • I do. I have a core one I’ve belonged to for almost seven years now, and then sometimes I’ll participate in other ones for awhile to meet specific goals or needs.

      Reply

      • What made you go with the one you use predominantly?

      • It was a spin-off of a challenge community I was in at the time, so I already knew the people and knew I got along well with them. Over the years, people have come and gone, and the level of activity has varied, but it’s still a good place to hang out and get some support, and there’s usually someone around if you need to plot something out or want some company in getting some work done.

      • Thanks. My closest brush has been a NaNoWriMo write-in, and I just found it distracting. Maybe I should reconsider.

      • Nano write-ins can be bad, because people chat, and someone’s always trying to start a word war. I went to one once where someone was trying to do prompts and I wanted to throttle the person. With an online community, it’s easier to tune out things that aren’t helping you.

        That said, I don’t mind the occasional in-person group, but I’ve been having issues finding one with people at the same skill level/goals as me.

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