Thursday, February 13, 2020

Being part of it: the online writing community


You have friends in every corner of the world; people as diverse as the places in which they live. You all have one thing in common: a love of writing.

Look up #WritingCommunity on Twitter and you’ll see the big picture: writers, writers everywhere! All talking about their writing, or prevaricating about writing or shouting about their books or even sometimes ‘shamelessly promoting someone else’.

It’s a big pond to play in.

But scale it down. Find a quieter corner.

What I want to share with you is my experience of belonging to a community; of gathering a group of online writing friends around you and of sharing encouragement and support.

I hang out in a small corner of the blogosphere via the wordpress platform. If you want to know about the technicalities, there’s plenty of ‘how to’ info out there on the interweb.

Way back in 2012 I set up my blogsite, purely as somewhere to store the short stories I’d written. Then, two years ago, when I started working from home doing social media stuff for a handful of clients and concentrating seriously on writing novels, as a bit of light relief, I began posting flash fiction pieces on the site.

I was pretty amazed that people took the time to read and comment… and say nice things. Suddenly I began to have a following.

And so I reciprocated. I read other people’s posts on the wordpress reader and commented on them. Before long, we had become a little community. We often write to prompt posted by someone else: a photo or a random word. We all come back and share. It’s become a virtual writing group.

Not everyone in our group aspires to be a published writer. Some do, some already are. Some just write for fun (well, I guess we all do that). Some post more frequently than others. People dip in and dip out like in any group. But there’s a hard core of folk who are always there, those I could sit down and share a coffee and a chat with, the ones I call my ‘virtual’ friends.

Within a year, I’d acquired many, many more contacts. The blog is linked to Twitter and LinkedIn, Facebook and, more recently, to Instagram. It provides me with a springboard to launch my work, and I’m selling an increasing number of my books as a result. However for me, it’s the participation and support of my virtual writing group that’s most important.

Writers are such nice people, aren’t they?