writing communityBeing part of the writing community is very important for authors who plan to self-publish. As well as practical advice and support from those with different experiences, there’s vital moral support to be found.

There are many ways to be part of the writing community:

Writing groups

One of the easiest ways is to simply ¬†join a writing group – there are many to be found on MeetUp, in most locations. Of course you could always start one if there’s nowhere nearby! Some groups involve writers simply sharing their work, while others are simply for people to write together. Pen and paper – laptops – tablets – you can work from whatever medium you like.

Writers’ associations

Joining a writers’ association can also be useful. They run events and competitions and offer a wide range of services, from mentorship to training courses. In Australia there’s Writing NSW, Writing SA, Writers Victoria, Writing WA, Northern Territory Writers’ Association, The Tasmanian Writers Centre, Queensland Writers Centre, and ACT Writers Centre. There are also many associations focused on particular genres of writing, such as Romance Writers of Australia or Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild. Not forgetting the national Australian Society of Writers.

Writers’ festivals

For a bigger event, a writers’ festival often gives access to best-selling authors from around the world, with performances, networking and book signings. They take place all around Australia, such as Sydney, Melbourne, Byron Bay, Adelaide, Canberra and Perth. Many writers based in Australia also travel to Bali for the Ubud writers’ festival.

Writing retreats

Also a useful way to block out some time to get some writing done, you can meet and network with fellow authors at a writing retreat. Some retreats offer coaching and masterclasses from publisher authors, sharing and critique sessions, or may ¬†even connect you with potential publishers. There’s a list here of six Australian retreats, but many writers travel overseas as well.

There are myriad writing groups and forums online as well. Being a reader and reviewer is also an important part of contributing to the community – it’s rare to find a writer who isn’t an avid reader! Once you publish your first book, you realise how precious reviews are. And don’t forget events such as book launches and book signings – supporting fellow authors will mean all the more when you’re the one in the hotseat.