Once upon a time I wrote a blog post on the amazing book This Is Not A Writing Manuel by Kerri Majors. If you haven't read it, you seriously need to. It's more directed towards teens/young adults, but I really think that a stockpile of information can be gleaned from Kerri's brilliance regardless of age.
Anyway, Kerri strongly suggests becoming a part of a writer's community. When I read that, I decided that I wanted a community to share my writing with. So I emailed some friends from all over the place (geographically) and asked if they would be interested in started a group where we would share and critique writing on a weekly basis.
The group went okay for a while, albeit not exactly what I had in mind. Most of the people who had joined had never really been in a writing group before that wasn't a class. It died off by the end of the year.
Earlier this year, I revisited TINAWM and decided that I really, really, really needed a writing group that actually, physically met. So, I googled writing groups in my area.
To my surprise, there actually was one that met at a cafe every Tuesday. But as far as I could tell, it was an adult group and I wasn't sure if teens were welcomed. So I sent the head lady an email, asking if she knew about any teen writing groups in the area.
And, badabingbadaboom, the next thing I knew, she had emailed be back saying no, she did not, but their people were interested in starting one! Then, some days later, another one of the writers emailed me inviting me to the group to discuss particulars.
Though no particulars were discussed, the group was an insane amount of fun. The members (for the most part) were all easily ten to thirty years older than me, but it was so cool. I didn't bring any work to be critiqued, but I learned so much by listening to them critique each other and reading their work.
Just being around other writers makes my soul so happy.
I'm actually going with them to a writer's conference at a university near my house next month. I AM SO. SO. SO. SOOOO EXCITED. I had business cards printed already and I keep staring at them.
Having writing friends does so much for your writing, especially if you can physically meet with them face to face. Even if you can't though, find yourself a critique partner! I don't think any writer should be without a critique partner. This is someone who you can vent to about your characters and bounce ideas off of. They can critique parts (or all of) whatever you're working on. And you can do the same for them, learning a lot about writing in the process!
It also helps in building a tough skin that is required for publishing. Having a person who genuinely cares about you and your writing makes it easy (or, at least, easier) to be critiqued, if you're not used to it.
The other awesome (probably the most awesome) thing about having a critique partner is that they'll a lot of times turn out to be one of your closest friends. (*waves* Hi, Jess!)
So! The moral of the post is DON'T BE AFRAID TO REACH OUT! If I had found the writing group but never emailed, then there would be no potential teen group, I couldn't have joined the adult group, and I never would have even heard of the writer's conference. Don't be afraid of how people will receive you...the worst thing that can happen is that they won't reply to your email, and how bad is that, really?
In addition to all that, same goes for blogging. I love the blogging community so much! My writing has grown exponentially thanks to y'all, I'm forever indebted. I love the friendships that have resulted in my activeness in the blogging world. Don't be afraid to comment, or even to send an email to a blogger! We don't bite, I promise.
Actually, that's so not true, I hate when people say that. I just realized that I hate when people say that, and now I'm all fired up. Of COURSE we bite. How do you think we eat?! By BITING. Unless you're a baby, then you don't bite. Well, actually, you do, you bite people, even if you don't bite food.
So moral number two: BLOGGERS BITE.
Have a fabulous remainder of the week everyone.