By Kylie Fennell
Listeners of the So you want to be a writer podcast will probably recall at least one occasion that Val and Al urged writers to find their tribe or people. But how do you go about it? And more importantly, how do you find the ‘write’ people for you?
It took me a while to find my people, but when I did things really started happening…fast!
I went from my world of “one” where no one other than my non-writing family and friends knew about my creative writing projects – to sharing my work with a community of like-minded writers.
My writing output, confidence and skills grew exponentially, and within a couple of years, I’d won and been shortlisted in several flash fiction and short story competitions including Furious Fiction. My work appeared in three anthologies, including Lighthouse, which I published with 14 other authors I’d met at a writing event. I published this book under my own imprint, after completing AWC’s Self Publish Your Novel on Kindle course.
None of these achievements would have been possible without the support of my ‘write’ people. My only regret is that I didn’t find them sooner. Here’s how you can fast track your way to finding your people.
1. Start a conversation
Finding your ‘write’ people starts with putting yourself out there. This can simply mean starting or engaging in a conversation on social media and in groups like the So you want to be a writer podcast community.
While the idea of starting a conversation with a complete stranger is terrifying for many writers, it does get easier with practice. Writers are naturally curious creatures, so put that inquisitive mind to work and start by asking a question – any question really – and let the magic happen!
2. Attend events
Attending virtual and in-person events like book launches, writing festivals and conferences is a great way to connect with like-minded people.
Just over a year ago, I attended a writing conference in Brisbane (GenreCon) and a light-hearted dinner conversation led to a collaborative, multi-genre anthology, Lighthouse. Sure, there were dozens of steps and lots of hard work in between, but it all started with a simple conversation.
If you’re still feeling unsure of yourself, here are some great tips on how to squash your shyness at events.
3. Seek out the ‘write’ people for you
Finding your ‘write’ people can involve some trial and error. Check out local writing groups or search for them on social media.
Be open-minded. Don’t just look for writers who are exactly like you or write in the same genre.
I’ve found that the people I really click with have similar writing goals to me, but otherwise we’re very different. While it’s great to have some friends who write in my genre, I also value the diverse perspectives other writers offer.
I found the ‘write’ people for me at an AWC event where Val gave the advice: “If you can’t find a writers group, start your own.” And that’s exactly what we did.
4. Support your fellow writers
When you help other writers, you’re part of a network of people who are primed to reciprocate.
Follow all different kinds of writers on social media and engage in their posts. Sign up to their newsletters, and share their content. Buy their books and attend their events. Cheer other writers on and offer support when you can.
5. Participate in writing opportunities
Submitting your work in a competition or joining a writing course will not just help you build your skills, but will give you something to talk about with fellow participants.
When you sign up to a competition like Furious Fiction, a program like NaNoWriMo, or a writing course, you and the other participants have a shared goal. You have something in common and can offer support to each other, with conversations often spilling over into social media.
These are just a few ways you can expand your network of writing friends and find your community. Simply start a conversation today and you too might find your ‘write’ people.
Lighthouse – An Anthology is a unique collection of fantasy, sci-fi, romance, crime, historical fiction, dystopian and paranormal short stories set in lighthouses. Featured authors include Kat Carr, Carleton Chinner, Jo Edgar-Baker, Sophia Evans, Kylie Fennell, Chris Foley, Kelly Lyonns, Alyssa Mackay, Brooke Maggs, Anna McEvoy, Bianca Millroy, Lea Scott, Sharyn Swanepoel, Lane Thornton and Jodie Woodward.
Kylie Fennell has made a 25-year career out of wrangling words, working as a journalist, editor and marketing manager, and now an author of speculative fiction. If she wasn’t a writer, she’d be a superhero librarian – conquering the Dewey Decimal System by day and saving the world one book at a time by night.