Why You Need a Tribe (Of Writers!)
Writers are usually solitary creatures by nature, so this may come as a surprise, but: You need a tribe. You’re not looking to pay malignant member fees, or trying to collect groupies.... probably. Like an activist (or a D&D player), you need comrades in arms. People who will meet to pool resources, form alliances, and build a community around your shared passion: Writing.
United by this common purpose, every member of the tribe will find they’re thriving, with plenty of partners to boost their motivation, provide feedback, and help them generate new ideas. The goal is mutual support: Every writer (including you!) will be standing ready, when someone falls on hard times, to lend a helping hand, or an emotional crutch.
If you’re still not convinced a tribe of writers is what you need to lead a more productive and rewarding writing life, then read on! We’ll talk about the positive aspects of community in more detail.
Or, if you’re ready to take the jump – scroll down for tips on finding or forming your own tribe!
Find a tribe for writing motivation.
You don’t need to tell me that the disappointment of losing steam on your darling novel weighs heavier than overdue library books. It can be almost impossible to find a way to get back to work and see the whole project through, even when spurred on by your best friend, favorite beta reader, or mom (it’s okay if those are the same person).
But what if that encouragement came from a kindred spirit? Someone who understands the pain, and knows how hard the task will be?
One of the best deterrents to burnout, in hobbies from dancing to tabletop gaming, is spending time with like-minded people. Sharing the same goals ensures that your coven/gang/squad can feed off of each other’s ambition and energy.
And, most likely, you’ll be supplying motivation of your own. It’s a great feeling knowing your kind words, well wishes, and prayers were important to someone else’s art. (Your goal: to see yourself in the “special thanks” part of their book!)
Find a tribe for feedback on your fiction.
Feedback is an underrated privilege/service in the literary world. Some folks won’t accept criticism from people who aren’t their close friends or acquaintances. Or a paid editor.
When it comes to the writing business, those who aren’t in the know may severely underestimate or undervalue the importance of feedback. There’s a reason many writing contests offer feedback as part of their prize package, and some professionals charge premium prices for their services. You may be surprised at how often and how drastically a writer may change their writing based off of good feedback.
Find a tribe for a constant wellspring of ideas.
For the same reason that encouragement from layfolk may seem empty to some writers, some people have trouble accepting creative advice from people who don’t suffer their same tribulations and share their same goals. It’s hard to treat them as, well, experts.
But, if you put two writers with similar outlooks in the same room together for a few hours, something magical happens. Your combined creativity, your drive to share in the work you both value, your ability to ask each other insightful questions and find clever solutions, makes the idea you generate worth more than gold.
Not literally, of course. But you know whom to thank when your teammate’s ideas earn you moolah from a successfully published bestseller.
Find a tribe to be part of a community.
Finding a tribe of writers is an accomplishment that should be celebrated, like putting together a dream sports team or a band. It’s not easy, but once you’ve done it, loyalty and friendships will abound, rewarding the group with more than just writing.
How to Find a Tribe
All of this sounds quite tantalizing, you decide. But just how and where can one find a community to join?
There’s always the option to seek out an online community by scouting through Facebook groups and the comments sections of your favorite writing blogs. You can chat via daily or weekly email chains, or over apps like Discord and GroupMe. Maybe you can arrange an annual meetup. But if contact and transparency (not to mention tradition) matter to you, nothing can beat having writers and authors-to-be right there in the room with you.
You can check postings at your local library, bookstore, or coffeeshop. Even internet forums for your city or town can prove useful. If Craigslist or Facebook fail to yield results, you may need to crank on your Google-Fu and search extensively for obscure postings online for local writing circles, workshops, and meetups.
Joining Crit & Pen’s revision e-course takes on all of the research and legwork for you. Signing up provides you with the means to find like-minded warriors of the pen. And that’s just a side perk! You’ll find loads of invaluable lessons and advantages for the aspiring author, including but not limited to:
● Feedback (remember how coveted this is?!)
● Learning the ropes behind revision
● The opportunity to finally write “The End” on that draft, and
● Extensive advice and help from professional editors!
If you cannot find a tribe near you, despair not.
There is always the option to start or co-found a tribe with a trusted writer friend. Open up a blog, or a Facebook group, or snag a table at a local coffee shop as a welcoming space for your fellow writers. Priceless opportunities to practice leadership and provide help for a whole community of writers are yours to enjoy, should you rise to the occasion.