Why Indie Authors Need a Writing Community
My fingers pounded out the last few words of my manuscript. I spent countless hours hovering over the keyboard, and now the book was finally finished. I didn’t have another word left in me, but I wanted to tell someone. To share the indescribable moment! Only another writer would understand, so I reached out to my writer group of friends who I knew would join me in celebrating.
My writing community walked with me through the difficult days, helped me stand against distraction, and offered advice when needed. No doubt they were the first people I wanted to tell. I hadn’t realized until then how much I needed this writer group. An indie author’s journey can be a lonely one, and we need writing friends who understand the highs and lows every writer experiences along the way.
It may seem near impossible to maintain a strong community when we spend much of our time scribbling in our journals in the solace of our favorite writing spot. But I’ve learned that creating community with our writing peers is not only possible; it’s necessary. Whether an online writers group or in-person, every author can benefit from being part of a community of fellow writers.
Where to Find Writing Communities
When first taking that faith step toward community, we should give prayerful consideration about where to start. A quick search for “Christian Writers Groups” on social media will bring up a long list of ideas. It’s important to keep in mind our purpose for joining a writers group when browsing through all the possibilities. Are we looking for encouragement from other writers? Or do we need resources to help us get unstuck? Writer groups have personalities and may focus more on one area than another. Professional organizations like the Christian Indie Publishing Association are a great option for checking all the boxes of a strong, well-established writing community. In this article, Sarah Bolme explains the Four Benefits of Joining a Publishing Association.
Maybe you’d prefer to begin with a smaller writer group that meets locally. A little internet research or checking out a trusted resource like the Christian Writers Market Guide can help you discover a group of fellow writers in your area. Check out the Word Weavers Christian writer groups. You may need to explore different avenues, but you’ll be on your way to finding the right tribe for you.
A conference is also a great way to build a tribe of writing friends. As a new indie writer, I pushed past my apprehension and signed up for an annual writer’s conference. I didn’t know what to expect when I stepped into the crowded hotel conference room that weekend. Headed home with a full binder, I took time to process all I’d learned. With all the practical information I gained, the most valuable thing I walked away with was new relationships. I made deep connections in those few short days with writers who are still my close friends today. This post by author Virginia Grounds explains even more reasons to consider attending a Christian writer’s conference.
4 Reasons You Need a Writing Community
We need to make building a writing community a priority in our daily schedules. This can be a challenge when our first instinct is to write, write, write! Understanding why we need a writers group will give us a strong sense of purpose moving forward. Here are a few reasons every author needs the inclusion a writing community offers.
1. A Writing Community Helps Us Stay Connected
Writers know all too well how isolating working from home can be. Since most of our work is done behind a screen, it’s easy to develop feelings of separation from the world. Even though our computers keep us aware of what’s going on across the globe, they can also build a boundary between us and our people. That’s why it’s important to be purposeful in creating community.
Instead of letting our screens cause a dividing line, let’s use them to make connections. Writer groups offer opportunities to connect through online chat groups, Zoom calls, and more. I meet with a small group of writing friends once a month online. We share our writing wins, critique each other’s work, and pray for one another. I look forward to our time together every month! A tribe of other writers provides much-needed fellowship to keep us from falling into the trap of feeling alone.
2. There Really Is Strength in Numbers
As Christian authors, we share our words with purpose and a passion to encourage people in their faith. We understand writing is a gift from the Lord, and He called us to use that gift for His glory. When we choose to link arms with other Christian writers, we discover the beauty and strength in working together. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV)
Brainstorming with a group can spark creativity. Networking offers new connections that can lead to more writing opportunities. Collaboration allows us to combine our resources to get our messages in front of a wider audience of readers. We will find endless benefits when we realize we’re stronger together.
3. Your Writing Community Will Get It When Other People Don’t
Discouragement is an evil foe. Every indie author I’ve met has battled it. A writers group is a place to find encouragement when we’re tempted to quit. Without the help of fellow writers, where would we be during those times when we wonder if we should even be writing at all?
We all experience days when we doubt our calling, but other writers get us. They relate to what we’re going through because they’ve been there, too. Surrounding yourself with fellow Christian writers ensures you have warriors who will stand by you and support you in times of discouragement.
4. Learning Happens in Community
We all need the benefit of learning from others who’ve been writing longer. The Christian writing world is a giving place where mentors welcome new writers and are willing to share what they’ve learned. And in turn, we will be able to pay it forward and share our own experiences with those coming after us.
Whether you choose an online writers group, in-person group, a writer’s conference, or all of the above, your writing community will be invaluable to your journey as an indie author. May you find connection and relationship as you prayerfully consider the right group for you—the one that will celebrate with you when that last word of your manuscript has been written.
Kristine Brown is a ministry wife, mom, stepmom, and Mimi who shares a message of “becoming more than ourselves through God’s Word” at her website, morethanyourself.com. Kristine is a freelance writer and author. She and her husband live in Texas.