Writing Friends and Where to Find Them

by Bess Mcallister
published in Community

Writing can be a bit lonely. We stare at our computer screens all day, interacting with imaginary people who can feel more real than the people around us. This makes writing friends invaluable. Not only do they understand the process, but they can help us out along the way—as critique partners, brainstorming buddies, or just a support network for the many ups and downs of the writing life.

It can be difficult, however, to meet other writers. Where to start? Whether you’re a café-writer or prefer to put in your hours in your pajamas at home, there are tons of ways to get to meet other writers. Here’s a few:

1) Writing Conferences

This is a super easy way to ensure you’ll be in the same room with a large number of writers. There are tons of great conferences out there—from large, multi-genre conferences like Writers Digest to smaller, more focused conferences like The Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. To find writers in your area, consider checking out more regional conferences.

The great thing about writing conferences is that everyone is there for the same purpose, so there are built-in conversation starters. What kind of books do you write? Where are you in the process? What did you think of a particular presentation? Writing conferences provide a lot to talk about, and are designed around creating conversation, so don’t be afraid to strike one up with a stranger.

Pro-Tip: When attending writing conferences, be sure to bring business cards so you can exchange contact info easily. And follow up with people! You never know which connections could turn into lifelong friendships. If you’re not comfortable giving out a personal email, create a writer account, or share your social media accounts.

2) Writing Workshops

Another great way to meet other writers is at workshops. There are so many awesome ones out there—they can be focused on anything from the industry to platforming to certain elements of craft or a specific type of book. You’ll be spending a lot of focused time with a smaller group of writers, workshopping each other’s work, and getting to know each other along the way.

This can also be a great place to make connections with industry professionals. So many authors, agents and editors teach at writing workshops. Many times they will critique a partial of your work as part of the workshop, and are available to talk.

Pro-Tip: When attending writing workshops, get to know your fellow writers ahead of time by connecting on social media. And if there are any authors, agents or editors present, do your research beforehand. Know what authors or books they represent, and read a few!

3) Online Writing Events

NaNoWriMo is just about to end, but there are almost always writing events going on online. For example, many writers who got derailed by the election are participating in #NaNoReDo in December. Other writers host chats for different genres, or writing sprints. Search different hashtags and see what other writers are doing. You may find yourself with a new writing buddy.

Personally, I’ve always had a hard time just “jumping in” on social media. But there are lots of more structured writing events as well, whether it’s the DIY MFA community, or message-boards on NaNoWriMo’s website. If you’re not comfortable joining a hashtag, try joining a group, and see what happens!

Pro-Tip: Make yourself easy to recognize on social media by using the same or a similar headshot on different platforms. Use the same picture in your avatar so writers can find you easily!

Whether you just make a quick connection or a friend for life, getting out there and meeting other writers is a great way to spend a day and remember you aren’t alone.

How do you meet writing friends?

Bess McAllister writes epic books in expansive worlds from a tiny town in the Midwest. Previously, she lived in New York and worked as a fiction editor at Tor Books. Now, she spends her days telling stories and helping other writers tell theirs. Her work is represented by Brooks Sherman of Janklow and Nesbit Associates.
Check out her editorial services and connect with on Instagram.

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