Connect with Your Writing Community

Most successful writers are not loners. Writers do need time alone to think and create, and a certain amount of solitude is an absolute requirement. However, the power of a community in a writer’s corner is just as important. In person and online, a writing community offers encouragement, support, perspective and an opportunity to learn together. Connecting with other writers can also lead to opportunities for collaboration and cross-promotion. Connecting with your writing community really pays off.

Network in Person

Friends talking together

The library is a fantastic place to connect with other writers, established authors, publishers and editors. If you want to build a writers group or make friends who share your interest in writing, workshops or author events are a great place to start.

Your next opportunity to connect in person is Sat, Dec 7, 10am – 1pm, at Great Writers Right Here. Meet representatives from publishers and presses, literary magazines, writers groups, and more than 40 published authors. Ask questions, exchange social media handles and business cards, and learn about opportunities to collaborate, submit and connect in your region. Watch Library News and our Facebook page for more opportunities to connect at the library.

Check out SpeakEasy Poets for a long-running open mic opportunity in Topeka. Share your own poetry or just show up to listen to and support others. Connect up with the Kansas Authors Club for access to a network of engaged writers and published authors. KAC is one of the oldest writing groups in the country. They meet at the library every month. Many KAC events are open to the public and membership in the group offers even more benefits.

Washburn University, Barnes & Noble and Round Table Book Store also offer readings and author events in Topeka.

Make Your Pitch

When you attend events be ready with a pitch. What’s your writing about? What are your goals? What do you bring to the table as an editor or writer for those who want to trade work? Creating bookmarks or business cards to exchange is a great way to share your contact info and it’s another way to make a memorable impression. Check out Dr. David Price’s tips for a memorable pitch to get started crafting yours.

If you’re ready to start a writing group, the library is a great place to meet. Our team rooms are the perfect space for up to six people to gather and share their work. Check out poet Leah Sewell’s tips for leading or participating in a writers group here.

Get Online

young woman using her tablet while sitting on the sofa at homeSocial media offers some real advantages for writers. You can connect any time and it’s free to connect with writers in your own town or around the world. The platform that will offer you the most benefit depends on who you’re writing for and who you are trying to reach. Explore Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see how the writing community is represented in each platform and how writers interact with each other.

I recommend joining the Facebook group Topeka Wrimos–50,000 Words in 30 Days. While the group was formed for NaNoWriMo support, it’s a good place to find support year round and connect with other passionate writers. SpeakEasy Poets, mentioned above, has an active online community in addition to in-person events.

Twitter offers an active writing community ranging from novice to bestselling writers. However, if you don’t know how to use Twitter, getting started can feel overwhelming. Start by following a few writers you admire. Pay attention to the trending hashtags used by the writing community. Offer other writers support, ask questions or share feedback when a writer you follow releases new work.

Build Your Brand

Interacting online means a certain amount of building your brand. If someone views your profile or feed, what will they see? Your photo, bio and the content you share say a lot about who you are. Mikki Burcher, social media guru, notes that you need to add value for your followers – share content that’s valuable to them. In a 2016 workshop at the library, she recommended that for every six pieces of content shared, four pieces should be content relevant to the reader (articles, useful information), one post should promote your work directly, and one should promote someone else or share their post. See more of Mikki Burcher’s tips on branding and social media.

How do you connect with other writers? Do you know of a writing group open to the public that you want to share with other writers? Let us know in the comments.

Miranda Ericsson

Miranda is your Readers Librarian. She loves to talk books, and to connect readers with their next great reads. Her favorite reads are poetry, literary fiction, and speculative science fiction, and she's passionate about promoting literature written by Kansas authors. She works with library programs that support and engage writers in our community, so ask her for more information about the Local Writers Workshop and Great Writers Right Here author fair. Miranda also facilitates TALK book discussions, co-leads the BookBites book discussion group, and serves as a member of the library's 2Book Topeka team.