Did you ever notice how many great writers of all eras were friends with each other? It was something that I found rather hard to believe back in high school every time my teacher to assign three books by three different authors who all just happened to know each other. How was that possible?
Well it is possible and more importantly a reason that they were all so famous. You see writers are the best support for other writers. When you get in a group of like minded people you will egg each other on to greater and greater heights. You’ll push each other to fix your issues and improve you craft until you are all at the top of you game. Then you push higher. Great, so how do you find the other great writers to make your little group?
So sorry to say that you don’t get to choose whether you or anyone in your circle will be the bane of future high school English students. Just like you can’t decide to be the next J.K. Rowling. That’s up to the readers who like you and recommend you to all their friends. Your place in history will be decided by people who haven’t even been born yet. In other words, don’t worry about that part.
What you need to find in a good writing group are people who are a good match for your writing. I don’t mean you should find people who write the same as you – quite the opposite. You need to find people who make different mistakes than you. It helps to work with people who work in a similar genre to you, just because the tropes and skills vary so wildly across genres, though it isn’t necessary as long as you choose writers who read your genre just so they know what you are working toward.
Most importantly you need to find people who will talk shop with you almost constantly. I mean talk shop. Not yell. Not argue. These should be people who you can get into the nitty gritty of how to make this particular sentence work without risking your friendship. You know how there are some friends who you can talk to all day about the latest movie. It’s not every friend who can do that, just that one that you match so perfectly with. That’s the kind of friends you need in your writing group.
Friendships of this sort are not the kind you can find by posting personal ads and interviewing potential members. These are the friendships you have to develop over time. To start with you just need to find other writers who you like well enough to meet with on a regular basis and make the effort to get to know them (that can be difficult for the introverts among us). Along the way, you will start to see improvements in your writing – because you should never put your writing aside just because you haven’t found your great writing group yet.
You can develop a great writing group from the writers all around you. As long as they are as committed to becoming a professional writer as you are, you will find that there is potential for development. That commitment to the profession is about the only thing you can’t compromise on. If you don’t have similar ambitions in writing, you will not have the same commitment to the group. If you do, almost everything else is negotiable. Even if you aren’t on the same page right away, just by hanging out together you both will change to become more alike. You are always changing, developing, maturing, etc, so don’t worry about that. You will change whether you meet this particular person or not. So you might as well go with someone who will help your career.
Now, there is nothing in any rule book out there that says you have to have writing friends. If you don’t want to do any of this, you still have potential. However you move forward, good luck and have fun.
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