With NaNoWriMo looming, I feel like I’m caught up in an electric buzz of collective excitement with my writing communities on social media. Writers on the internet are some of the most supportive people I’ve ever encountered. Maybe it’s because writers are also readers, or maybe it’s because other writers are rarely the competition due to the nature of how our work is consumed, but the encouragement and love I feel from my writer friends is mindblowing, always.
If you’re wondering how you can get more involved in writing communities online and offer encouragement to your fellow creators, especially writers who are publishing independently, I’ve put together a collection of ideas from my own experience for you to try. Enjoy!
Make genuine connections
Social media and blogs are great for discovering other writers. If you see a post you like, don’t just read it and move on. Visit the person’s profile or site, follow them, comment on their posts and get to know them. I don’t mean mass follow everyone who posts in a particular tag or has ‘writer’ listed as their occupation. I mean actually reach out, communicate and let people know you enjoy what they’re doing. If someone is posting about their new project, share in their excitement. If they’re having stressful times, a few words of encouragement can make all the difference. Treat other writers the way you’d like to be treated and get ready to make new friends!
Share what you love
Whether you’re mentioning someone in a #FollowFriday post on Twitter or reblogging their poetry on Tumblr, sharing someone’s work or a link to their profile or website can introduce them to a whole new audience – yours! Telling a friend about the amazing book you’re reading and sending them a link to where they can download or buy it is fantastic too. It’s a lovely feeling when someone likes what you do enough to introduce people they know to your work.
Take part in tags and games
Every week, I look forward to #SatLines and #SlapDashSat on Twitter. Not only are these great opportunities to share a little bit of what I’m working on, they’re also fun ways to discover other writers. You don’t even have to wait for a particular day or game to jump into tags though. Using (and browsing) #amwriting and #writerslife on Twitter will instantly connect you with other writers, any day of the week. If you’re involved with a big project like NaNoWriMo, check the relevant tags. I’ve met so many writers through #NaNoWriMo, #NaNoPrep and #CampNaNoWriMo, and it’s lovely to know that while I’m spending hours putting words to screen, lots of other writers are doing exactly the same thing and we can give each other a much needed boost!
Read and react
Few things warm my heart like someone saying, “I loved your book”. Actually, even just having someone get in touch to say they’ve downloaded my book and are going to read it feels pretty epic. Blog comments, and even Likes, are awesome. Basically, do things to remind other writers that they aren’t just shouting into the void. Let them know you’re reading and appreciating their work. Writing can be an isolated activity a lot of the time, as you know, and hearing from the people who read your words is important, especially if you know they can relate to your experience. On that note, if you’ve read something that genuinely shifted your perspective, touched your heart, made your day better or inspired you in some way, TELL THE WRITER! As a writer yourself, you know how feedback like that can carry you through times of self doubt.
Pay for what you read
At the moment, I give everything I write away for free but people who want to pay, and can afford to, can send a payment through PayPal (like buying a book after they’ve read it). I’m still very much at the beginning of my actually-doing-the-writing-thing journey so knowing that people are willing to put money behind what I do feels incredible (and also helps me to pay for things that I need. On the flipside, I generally can’t afford to buy physical books, but independently published ebooks are so much more affordable and I’m grateful to be in a place where I can spend even a little bit of money supporting other writers. For a long time, I couldn’t afford to do this. Now that I can, it’s important to me that I do. Being on the receiving end of financial support for your creative endeavours is pretty damn good. Being on the giving end of that is equally wonderful.
I hope these ideas help you to make the most of your online life as writer and contribute to your community. There are so many of us out here, waiting to meet you ❤