If you’re a writer, you can choose to see other writers either as competitors or as colleagues.
I urge you to make at least some writers into colleagues. (Save competitors for your golf game.)
Firstly, because writing can be a lonely occupation. Unless you have an extraordinary ability to ignore distractions, you probably spend lots of time alone with your writing implements. You need to make some friends, build some relationships.
Secondly, because writers have a commonality of experiences. They get you. They’ll be your allies. They won’t report you to the FBI when they see your browser history because they will understand that your how to make a bomb search was just research for the thriller you’re writing.
Thirdly (and most importantly), because writers have a wealth of information and insight to share with you, and you with them. This won’t happen if you treat them like rivals, so become their colleague.
In your day job, you have coworkers, who are your built-in colleagues. But unless you work for a publication or you have a collaborator, you might have to scout out some writer colleagues. Fortunately, the internet has made it very easy to connect with other writers. But how?
- Twitter. Yes, I know, Elon Musk took over and it changed. Lots of people dropped out. But writers are working very hard to keep Twitter a place where writers can interact with one another. Searching the hashtag #WritingCommunity is a great way to find interesting writers to follow. Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media platforms also enable authors to find each other.
- Blogs. So many authors have blogs. They post articles about writing topics, and their publication experiences, and even about their personal lives. A few of my favorites are Ryan Lanz’s, K.M. Weiland’s, and C.S. Lakin’s.
- Writer’s groups. The internet is wonderful, but face to face interaction is even better. In 1990, when I didn’t yet have a computer, I found my first writer’s group by reading the community calendar in the local newspaper. Now it’s as easy as googling writers groups near me.
- Writer’s conferences. Conferences are great for learning about the industry. Not only can you meet other writers there, but you can also make connections with agents and editors (and pitch stories).
- Book festivals. Whenever people gather to celebrate the written word, you will find other literary people. There’s probably a festival near you, or in a place you’d love to travel to. Again, your search engine can hook you up. Here’s a list of book festivals to get you started. Some have already passed, but they’ll probably come around again next year!
- Readings and book signings. Check the blogs and websites of authors you admire to see if they’ll be appearing at a book store near you. Better yet, sign up for your local bookstore’s newsletter and support your local writers by attending their events.
Every writer needs a community of diverse partners who help each other with advice, information, and ideas. Most writers I know are generous about sharing their expertise and are willing to make recommendations and introductions, especially if you reciprocate. Whether you are a novice or a seasoned professional, you can benefit from cultivating a community of writing colleagues.
I SO agree with your first statement, even in the quilting world. Look at other quilters as colleagues and NOT competitors!! Yes it is easy to be jealous of someone else’s achievements but there really is room for all of us!!!
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And you learn so much from other quilters. Besides the fun of getting together to work on projects.