by Heather Kelly, Founder, The Writers’ Loft
THERE’S A TON OF WRITING ADVICE out there. In fact, I feel fairly confident that you can go and Google whatever information you need to get your writing career to the next level.
But is that enough? Is information in a vacuum what you truly need?
The truth, for me, is that even with all the information in all the writing books in the world (I’ve read a ton) and all the webinars on writing and marketing online (there’s some stellar stuff out there), I wouldn’t survive the writing and publication industry by myself.
I need community. I think you might, too.
Community, for my writerly purposes, is what happens when I support like-valued colleagues who, in turn, support me in kind.
You’ll notice I didn’t say like-minded. Like-minded is boring. Let’s all have different views on life, publishing, and writing. Let’s each have a different path we are taking and not just hang out with people who believe just as we believe. Let’s learn from each other BECAUSE WE THINK AND DO DIFFERENTLY.
But I did say like-valued, YES. Essential. So, we’re always kind. Respectful. Especially when someone thinks differently. Always open to learning a new strategy or way of doing something. Always ready to give people the benefit of the doubt. Always seeking knowledge.
You’ll also notice that I support my community first. When I do that, I don’t even have to ask my community to support me. It’s what naturally follows.
This is the backbone of community. It’s asking first and foremost: What can I do for someone else? You might feel like you don’t have the time or expertise to help another writer, but doing so is by far the best and quickest way to grow your career and community. It all starts when you dance like crazy for someone else.
When you put yourself out there; when you risk being someone else’s first follower, people will want to do it for you, too.
How can I be so certain about how to build community? Well, I’ve gone to great lengths to build community, not just for myself but for other writers too.
I started with a blog (back when blogging was how we all found each other). I reached out and became a critique partner to my blogging friends.
Because of those connections, I helped run a large regional conference. (There’s still a few spaces left at the NESCBWI conference in April—will I see you there?) Making connections between the writers and illustrators attending was my top priority the years I was helping out.
I also rented a creative space where writers could go to write. And learn. And critique. And build their community. We call it The Writers’ Loft. It’s grown quite a bit. You’re welcome to stop in if you’re around the Massachusetts area.
I figured if I needed this community thing, then you might, too. So we’re going to share The Writers’ Loft community virtually with you, here.
What will this space be? A place to meet other like-valued writers. Hear their ideas. Learn what they have learned. Connect. Grow. Build.
You can just sit back and take in the information. We’re going to share a ton.
Or you can use this site to interact and build your own personal community.
How? If you enjoy meeting someone here, pull them into your community. Comment. Email them. Visit their website. Find them and friend them on Facebook. Tell them what their words mean to you. Share a post that you found informative. Spread the word. Spread the community.
Be that first follower. Dance like crazy.
I’m glad you’re here.
What can I do for you?
Writers’ Loft Founder
While exploring the fabric of the universe by writing YA and MG novels, Heather runs The Writers’ Loft, a supportive writing community in Sherborn, MA. She believes that writing is too hard to do alone and encourages anyone who needs a critique partner or a quiet place to write to stop by the Loft. Look for her 2017-2018 YA new releases: Blindspot (Book 1 in the AfterFlash Series, as HG Kelly), and The Surge Chronicles, co-authored with Ansha Kotyk.