How to Develop Relationships with Other Writers

A guest post by Debra Eckerling

Most writers would agree: it’s a lonely profession. If you’re lucky, you get to spend lots of time behind the computer writing articles, prose, books, screenplays, etc. The drawback: you spend lots of time behind the computer.

It’s essential for writers to connect with others for various reasons.

Building a network gets you:

  • Leads for representation, submissions, and assignments. I have been writing for years and have only gotten two gigs from blind queries; the rest have been from referrals.
  • An audience, which only continues to increase in importance in this digital and social media age.
  • A support system for the ups and downs of the journey.

Therefore, you need to actually make an effort to meet, connect, and develop relationships with other writers.

Here’s how to do it:

#1: Find Writers Online

Find and follow writers with whom you can develop relationships. Make a list of your top ten favorite websites for writers. Include personal writers’ blogs, online publications with multiple authors (like Aerogramme), and writers communities (mine is Write On Online).

Then, like the pages on Facebook, and follow on Twitter and Instagram. For multiple-contributor blogs, follow the individual writers, as well. You can pursue them on other social media sites, but these three platforms are the best places to start.

Schedule time a few days each week (my recommendation is three 15-minute increments weekly) to check on these pages and interact with the content. This means commenting on posts, sharing and retweeting, and answering questions via tweet. Remember, when you do this, your comments should be constructive, not promotional.

Note: To make social interaction easier to manage, add their pages to Favorites on Facebook and create lists on Twitter.

As time goes by, you will be recognized by these people, and comments will turn into conversations. Conversations can develop into relationships. And with technology as it is, and more people doing live video, there are increasing opportunities to get to know people virtually.

Every now and then, you will meet an online connection at the same live event as you. I’ve had real friendships develop from people I initially met online.

That is why you have to …

 

#2: Get Out of the House

Make it a priority to go to (at a minimum) one event each month. It’s better if you can do this once a week, but I know you get busy. So, if all you can do is once a month, commit to it and follow through. This can be a workshop, a mixer, a book signing, or something else that interests you.

To find events, see what’s going on at your library and favorite bookstore; search Google, Eventbrite, or Meetup.com with your zip code; and ask your local peers for recommendations. You can also go to non-writing events, such as Chamber of Commerce mixers, local networking groups, and classes to do with a hobby. For instance, if you like to cook, see what’s going on at your favorite food specialty shop. You can also join a book club, community sports team, or even a gym.

For extra credit, attend one conference in your specialty each year. Talk about meeting a lot of people at once! Don’t get overwhelmed, though. Take it one session or networking opportunity at a time. And be sure to give out business cards to everyone you meet so you can connect later.

When the opportunity presents itself, apply to volunteer. This puts you in a position to meet the organizers, speakers, and attendees at a personal level. I also think it makes the experience more enjoyable.

 

#3: Connect the Dots

At events you generally meet three types of people: acquaintances, peers, and potential friends. Follow-up with everyone within a few days, and make the extra effort for those you really like.

Send a note to all, telling them how good it was to meet them. In some cases, you’ll want to invite them to connect on LinkedIn. Also, check out their blogs and follow all their social media profiles. Add them to your targeted list of favorite writers, and interact with them regularly.

Check in with your new friends every few weeks. Say “Hi,” ask how they are doing, and see how you can support them by sharing resources, connecting them to others, or attending their events. It’s good karma. You may even want to make plans to meet for coffee or lunch to have a more in-depth conversation.

Here’s the thing. Writers feel like they are alone, but that’s not the case. Others want and need support as much as you do. Make developing relationships a priority. The rewards are worth it!

 

What do you think? How do you develop relationships with other writers? Who are some of your favorite writer friends? Share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments.

* * *

Debra Eckerling is the founder of WriteOnOnline.com, a website and community for writers, and author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog. A Project Catalyst, Debra works with individuals and small businesses to strategize, set goals, and manage their projects.

Like Write On Online’s Facebook Page, join the Facebook Group, and follow @WriteOnOnline on Twitter and Instagram.

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15 Comments

  1. 8 March 2017 / 10:42 am

    The best thing I have ever done in terms of developing relationships with other writers is to sign up for a local writing workshop.

  2. 8 March 2017 / 12:07 pm

    Thanks for the tips Debra. It’s tough being based in a smaller community with not-so-much access to regular events. I make a point of popping in and chatting with the bookseller at our local non-mainstream bookstore, and I’ve also found that regular bursts of networking/workshop activity (e.g. the wonderful MOOCs run out of Iowa University) are both manageable and good for extending and nurturing me as a writer.

    • 9 March 2017 / 9:32 am

      You are welcome, Karen. Feel free to join my Write On Online Facebook Page and Group (links in my bio above). The group was launched to facilitate online and irl connections. Keep doing your thing and getting out there. Best of luck! – Deb

  3. 9 March 2017 / 9:25 am

    That’s great, Constance. It’s so wonderful when you find opportunities to meet people in real life, make a connection, and develop from there. – Deb

  4. F. Armstrong Green
    10 March 2017 / 10:34 pm

    If you read a book that you love or that knocks your hat off, write a snail mail, handwritten note to the writer in care of the publisher. You’ll be surprised what results over a period of time. But do not push yourself or your writing on the writer if a correspondence ensues. Talk only of the writer’s work, saying insightful things about the craft and/or the vision. Ask what writers your writer admires the most. . . .

  5. 11 March 2017 / 5:29 am

    Thanks for your comment. What a great idea! Writers love hearing from their readers.

    And you make a fabulous point about content, which also applies to when you interact with people online. Relationship development is about conversation, not self promotion…

  6. fenris
    11 March 2017 / 9:18 pm

    There are benefits to connecting online, some of us feel less shy. In 2014, i am lucky to have found a real life group of writers to discuss with and make friends. Online is excellent to share if you don’t dare to make speeches in front of crowds like me, because with social media can share widely

  7. fenris
    11 March 2017 / 9:22 pm

    Hi Debra what kind of stories do u write? i love fiction and everyday life stories, and fanfics

  8. 12 March 2017 / 5:50 am

    Thanks for your comment, Fenris. Agreed, there are tons of benefits to connecting online … in addition to it being a safe haven and a place to share your work. So happy to hear you found your peeps irl.

  9. Karen Wrigglesworth
    12 March 2017 / 7:42 am

    Armstrong, I love your idea about snail mailing favourite authors – I’m going to try it!

    • F. Armstrong Green
      12 March 2017 / 12:14 pm

      Good. Do that which makes you stand out and stand tall. Do that which others are too lazy to do or even think of. Not much is more powerful than a handwritten note or letter these days.

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