Posts Tagged ‘writing communities’

Decisions, Decisions

Good morning, squiders!

If you’ll remember, in February I finished up my serial scifi story in one of my writing communities, a story I started in January of 2009 and hence had been working on for 10 years.

(I really should back it up in a word document and see what the final word count is. I’d bet it’s about 70K or so.)

I don’t think I’ll do anything with the story–it kind of feels like I’ve spent enough of my life on it already, and I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily worth the time to revise and so forth to try and publish it.

Plus it wasn’t my favorite story idea to begin with. I just felt like I needed something, a story I could work on periodically for said writing community (you’re supposed to post at least once a month), and so I put it together off a weird dream I had once.

I requested a few months off after the completion of the story, which I was readily given, but it’s now six months later and I find myself at a crossroads.

A couple, actually.

The first one is: do I want to stay in this community?

It’s a LJ writing prompt community that I joined back in 2006. In 2006 I joined a lot of different writing communities–I was fresh out of college and living in a new state where I knew no one except my significant other, and I found myself falling into a depressive spiral. So I threw myself into writing as a coping mechanism, which worked pretty well, all things considered. I made a lot of friends, many of whom I still talk to today, and it’s really the point where writing went from a hobby to a more serious pursuit.

And the community has generally been great. The other writers are talented, so it’s nice to read their stuff, and the feedback and encouragement I’ve gotten over the years. And it has been a good way to ensure I’m writing somewhat regularly, especially if life has been otherwise problematic.

But is it still helping me meet my goals? Would it be better to use the time I spend every month on something else?

The community has quieted down lately, too, with only a half dozen people actively posting, if that.

The second question is: if I stay in the community, what do I write?

Do I start another novel-length serial story, posting 600-1500 words a month for the next ten years? Do I actually rely on the prompts and write little drabbles and shorts that I may or may not want to do something with? (That’s what I did for the first few years. There’s some I like, but not enough to do anything with.)

Do I use it like the RaTs system on WriYe and focus on writing drabbles in universes that already exist?

Do I go for a serial, but something shorter, something designed to only last a year or so?

I’m not sure. Nothing’s jumping out at me. But I feel like I’m reaching a point where the decision needs to be made.

Thoughts, squiders?

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?