Finding your community

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Writing is one of the most loneliest acts of creativity. At least there is something to show in a half-finished painting or sculpture – but a writer cannot reveal anything unless her work is fully done!

So you write every day, sometimes in a snail’s pace, but progressing anyway, inch by inch, with only your words for company. But creative artists cannot run on auto forever; they need to synergize with like-minded folks at least once in a while. And there is the real danger of burning out – yours truly is a prime example.

If you are like me, a discipline-challenged freelancer who stays home a LOT, here are three ways to ensure you are never alone in your literary pursuits:

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Image courtesy of Pixomar / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

ONLINE FORUMS An instant cure to writers’ loneliness is to become a member of an online writing forum. I joined one during one of the most gloomiest of my years, right in the middle of an illness yet the forum managed to lift me from the doldrums and make me rediscover my writing mojo. When you talk (post) and discuss (post again) and generally write a lot every day to keep participating, you do three things – you demolish your writers’ block, you connect and network, and you also learn so much. Isn’t this a rather neat way to use the Internet to improve our craft! AbsoluteWrite (for all writers) and SCBWI Blueboards (for children’s writers) are two forums that has a vibrant community and a huge database of topics relevant to writers.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

CRITIQUE GROUPS Have you ever thought that your manuscript or story would benefit from a second (or third, or fourth) pair of eyes? You’re right. (if you never thought that before, here is why you should.) Both online and offline groups will work – the former is easier to set up and participate from the comfort of your living room, the latter is real time and can be a great way to connect with like-minded artists. Here is a good article that introduces you to the basics of finding a critique group. But IMHO, the best way to find one is by participating in critique swaps – if you’re totally new to critiquing, sites like IWW, Critters and Critique Circle can be a good starting point.

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Image courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

HAVE A BLOG Blogging as a community? When you start blogging, you can’t just stay immersed in your own Dashboard world… eventually, you will check out into similar blogs, leave your comments on some interesting posts. You will receive comments on your blogs, connect with other bloggers, attend blogathons and giveaways and other blog events. There are many benefits to blogging, but at its core, blogging is a painless, cheap and incredibly creative way to connect with yourself and others. Try it! WordPress is an easy, free and well-reputed blog sites that offer attractive templates and easy-to-use tools to create your first blog.

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