Imagine the quintessential writer: introverted, glasses, coffee in hand, sitting alone at a small desk, while poking their fingers on a keyboard. Certainly, there’s no writers’ group here—it’s just one person, scribbling away in solitude.
We all have preconceived notions as to what being a writer looks like, but whatever your idea of a writer, I can bet that one trait is uniform across the board. You probably imagine your writer alone, the Stephen King type, secluded, perhaps in a cabin in the middle of nowhere.
Interestingly enough, being a writer alone is nearly impossible, and after being part of a writers’ group for almost a year, I’ve learned I could never do it alone.
Why You Shouldn’t Write Alone
Great writing is done in community, and besides having more great friends, there are four major benefits to not being a writer alone:
1. Free Proofreading and Editing
Editing is hard. Also, writers are terrible at editing our own pieces.
Regardless of how much you know about spelling, subject-verb agreement, or colons, all writers make mistakes. I’ve even seen errors in traditionally published books and articles, despite teams of editors.
Editors can be extremely expensive. Why spend all that money on an editor if you and a friend could just trade work? You’ll all get better at editing, and it’s free.
No one wants to publish a post or short story with the wrong “bear with me” or “bare with me,” because that could just be bad.
2. Emotional Support
There’s something about commiserating that feels so great.
It’s when someone has the same deadlines and you’re both feeling stuck, so you ask each other, “What word count are you at?” every five minutes. There’s a deep connection made through the pain of writing. Hopefully, your combined misery will turn to laughing, because you’ll have no other choice.
When you have no one to commiserate with, you also have no one to keep you accountable. We need someone to tell us we can do it, because we’re doing it together.
3. Gain Perspective
When you have friends that read your writing, they bring the perspective of the reader. As we write, and even read over our own work, we have author-brain. We’re never quite objective enough to catch all the problems.
When you write, you are familiar with you entire plot and storyline, but it’s easy forget that your reader is not. Having friends read your work reveals holes, inconsistencies, and confusion.
I have a friend who constantly writes controversial blog posts. I so often find myself saying, “Because I know who you are, I know what you’re trying to say, but what you’re writing isn’t what you mean. You sound harsh.” These conversations are invaluable for your writing and audience. Find someone who can give you this perspective before you publish.
A few months ago, I attended the Tribe conference, hosted by Jeff Goins. It was incredible, and if you weren’t there, you should be there next year.
At my table alone, I met a publisher, a writer for Copyblogger, a fantasy writer, and a couple who want to write a book. While walking around I met a podcast producer, some Write Practice readers, and Pamela Hodges, one of the funniest writers ever (she writes for The Write Practice, too).
Don’t write alone. We all have different gifts. We all have something to give and receive from one another.
Imagine a team of people fighting for you to succeed. These are the people that are going to help you get jobs, further your business, and give you chances.
That’s what happens when we band together as writers, and push one another towards greatness with whatever we have to offer.
Are You Ready to Stop Writing Alone?
The Write Practice is about improving our craft by practicing, and helping one another grow within a community of writers.
The heart of that community happens in Becoming Writer, our online writers’ group, where writers share their pieces every week and give each other feedback and encouragement. We’d love for you to join us!
And we love to build our community here on the blog, too. That’s why we invite you to share your writing in the comments every day—here, you can find your writing community and get the support you need to accomplish your goals.
As Hellen Keller says,
Do you have a writers’ group? How do you connect with other writers? Let us know in the comments below.
Are you feeling stuck? Now’s your chance to reach out with your writing challenges and get support.
Find a blog draft, a chapter you’re unsure of, or a piece you just feel needs help. Or, take fifteen minutes to write a new story about someone who really messed up cooking dinner. Share your writing, old or new, in the comments below.
Then, leave some edits, ideas, or encouragement for your fellow writers. Let’s all grow together!