The other day I was scrolling through Tumblr and saw the phrase “Writing can be a surprisingly social activity” in a post by wordsnstuff, and the idea of it stuck in my head. While I don’t consider myself a writer, as an editor, I spend a large part of every day working with books and authors and writers, and so, SO much of my job is about connections and communication. Writing itself is a means of communication, a way to tell stories and share ideas. And sure, a large part of that is sitting in a chair typing away, but that’s where the story begins, not where it ends. Especially not in today’s world.
Writing communities are incredibly important.
Even if you are the kind of writer who needs to be in a room of their own locked away from the world in perfect silence for the words to flow, eventually you are going to reach a point where you will need to involve other people. Sometimes you’ll get stuck and need someone to talk things over and brainstorm with. Or maybe you need a new perspective, or insight into some aspect of the human experience that you aren’t personally familiar with. Maybe you are feeling discouraged and you need someone around to listen to you vent and encourage you that you really CAN do this, and that it’s okay to get it wrong the first time, because as long as you keep writing you’ll get there eventually.
Or maybe you’ve finished the book, which means it’s time to start revising and editing. That’s a place where new readers are almost always helpful. It can be hard to find the places where the scene that is so clear in your own head might not be translating to the page quite the way you wanted. Sometimes you might have looked at something too many times and need a fresh pair of eyes. Hearing what other people think of your work is one of the best ways of finding which parts are working and which parts might still need a bit more thought to really shine. It’s really, really hard to grow and change in an isolated bubble.
And eventually, after you’ve finished revising and editing, the next step is to share your work with people. Whether it’s with agents and editors as you pursue being published, an online community, or people you’ve never met who found your book in a store or library and decided to pick it up because it sounds so awesome, you are going to want a community of readers to enjoy your work, and to help inspire you to get started on the next project.
I know the idea of joining a writing community and putting your work and opinions out there can be scary, but I really think it’s worth it. Being part of that community, making connections with wonderful creative people, finding books I can fall in love with and helping to make them the best that they can be is why I became an editor in the first place, and why I LOVE working at Swoon Reads so much. As of September 2017, Swoon Reads has 40 fantastic authors on our list, with 33 published books, and over 40 more already acquired and in progress, and an ever growing community of readers and book lovers who challenge, support, encourage, and inspire us every day. If you are interested in coming and hanging out with us (and possibly working with us to publish your book), check out swoonreads.com. Hope to see you there!