One piece of advice you will hear from nearly every seasoned author is “Join a writer’s group!”
The importance of sharing your work and getting feedback at different stages of the draft process cannot be overstated, but what if you can’t find a group to join?
Maybe your schedule or location keep you from creating or joining an already established crew of writers who are ready to devote the time to criticize each other’s work. Or maybe you do have this kind of in-person support already but are looking to supplement it with an online equivalent or two.
Why Join an Online Writing Community
Should you join an online writing group and post your poetry or stories online? Is that a good thing to do or is it a waste of your valuable time?
Joining the right online writing communities can offer many advantages, such as:
- Surrounding yourself with supportive, inspiring, and like-minded people.
- Keeping you informed about what other authors in your genre are working on.
- Connecting you to contests, classes, and other resources.
- Helping you improve your writing through practice and critique.
- Brain-storming solutions with other aspiring authors and getting advice from established and experienced authors.
- Generating a loyal following, building an email list of readers, and sparking interest in purchasing your book when you eventually publish.
As an added incentive to join Online writing platforms and communities, consider the potential of being scouted by agents and publishers looking for the next big bestseller!
- After attracting over a million reads, Nikki Kelly was contacted by six different agents about her Styclar Saga.
- Wattpad, for instance, has a program called Wattpad Stars, which helps its best writers get their work in front of publishing companies, like Bryony Magee, who got a publishing deal at seventeen!
The Top Online Writing Communities
Probably the most encyclopedic of the online writing communities listed here, on Writer’s Cafe you can post writing of any style and genre, receive feedback, create writing groups, take free online courses, and find editors, agents, and publishers.
They also host free-to-enter contests which are initiated by their members.
Like other online writing critique platforms, Scribophile works on a point system, meaning authors can post their writing for critique only after they’ve earned points by giving feedback to others; in this way, the site ensures that every work posted gets read. Scribophile allows readers to leave in-line critiques to facilitate thorough editing.
You can also participate in discussion forums and form smaller writing groups with your friends.
A free membership comes with the ability to post a limited amount of writing, with an option to upgrade to a $65 per year paid membership which allows the user to upload as much work as they want.
Through a colorful interface, Wattpad users can post their stories in serial form, to be read by their mighty 60 million strong membership.
This writing community website harnesses an audience participation style of critiquing, where users can comment and react to the writing in-line and by the page, and writers can tailor their work-in-progress according to their readers’ feedback.
With 500,000 members, AllPoetry, like many online writing sites with a critique feature, works on a points basis; users earn points by offering their constructive comments on other poems before they can trade in those points to post their own work for feedback.
The site features award-winning poets as part of their member base, discussion forums, and runs contests for members to win cash and/or points.
A writing community with a lot of loyal, long-term members (the site started in 2000), users can post a limited amount of their work for critique, network, find out about contests, and gain access to a host of resources for learning about the craft.
There are options to upgrade to a paid membership, which comes with more features like the ability to store more of your writing in an online portfolio.
With almost 70,000 members, this is another no-frills writers’ forum where the topic of conversation is everything writing. Here you can find other writers who are laboring cheerfully in every genre you can think of, including westerns, cookbooks, and fitness writing.
There’s a thread called “Ask an Agent” where you can connect with agents and one where you can find beta readers.
The Poetry Free-For-All is Every Poet’s no-frills forum with 28,000 members, where users can discuss poetry, get critiques, and share news about contests and resources for poets. Every Poet’s homepage also features over 5,000 classic poems you can peruse.
Originally conceived as a “MySpace for authors,” Bookrix has evolved into a community that connects readers to writers who upload their work on the site. Additionally, writing that generates enough interest from the readership is eligible for Bookrix’s free self-publishing service, whereby authors keep 70% of the sales their book generates.
Like Bookrix, Inshares is a community formed around a publishing platform. Writers have to go through a quality-control process to post their work, but this means it also attracts a loyal readership who show up for great reads. Once there, pieces get reviews and feedback from readers, and stories that garner a positive response are eligible to be published and marketed by Inkshares at no cost to the author.
With a sub-reddit for every category and type of writing, some of them boasting over 200,000 members, writers can come here to seek out critiques, make friends, share resources, news, and submission calls, or just complain about the woes of writer’s block to an audience of sympathetic ears.
Start by looking at r/WritingHub, where you’ll find a list of each of the writing-related sub-reddits offer.
One way for writers to use Facebook is to search for groups that are interested in a specific genre or form of writing, where the members will discuss related topics and share news and resources about them. You might also be able to find a group in your area that meets up once in a while, a possible source for beta readers and critiques.
Don’t Want Critic and Don’t Any Need Help Writing Your Book?
No worries. Writer clubs still have great benefits and can play an important role for you, even if you do not wish to post your WIP book online, don’t want critic or don’t need anyone’s ideas because you have no writers’ block.
Writing can be a lonely vocation and a hermit-like lifestyle is easy to fall into; think of all the hours you spend solo, bent over your keyboard… It’s good to have a similar-minded social network or group. And just like the real-world writer club meetups, the online ones are very supportive. If you live in a remote location where no other writers are available to meet up with you for a chat, then an online writer/poet community is a useful alternative.
It’s vital to join (or even create) a community of fellow writers for support, ideas, and even to hear the harsh truth about that epic poem you wrote after your last breakup.
Luckily, there is a vibrant and generous bunch of writers at all levels of experience and success at each of the online communities mentioned above, just waiting for you to introduce yourself.
Have you any additional community recommendations to fellow authors, writers, and poets?
Enter your suggestions, share your experiences and feedback in the comment form below!
Thank you and to your awesomeness!
She has been published by the North American Dostoevsky Society, and in the Hart House Review 2016.
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