There are a lot of writing communities out there, or shall I say, communities that place themselves under the banner of writing. I’ve found there are a few that are actually dedicated to writing and the craft but so many are filled with people who talk about wanting to write but never actually do much writing. So many sites become advice columns and most of the advice comes from people who have no idea what they’re talking about. It sucks because I’d like to find a community full of people who will read and critique each other and stay strictly dedicated to that. Sort of like a creative writing class in college, except with people who actually give a fuck and aren’t just doing it for a grade based on “effort.”
Luckily for me, I have a few close friends that are writers and a few who are strictly readers. I can ask readers to honestly tell me what they think of a story and then ask my writer friends to help me fix all the stuff I screwed up. However, both of those communities are extremely small and due to life and living, things can get pretty hard to schedule and make happen.
I have one friend who is actively pursuing becoming a better writer. She’s going to school and while her degree isn’t exactly English, I believe it falls under that umbrella and is actually set in reading and writing. Due to school and work, she hasn’t done much writing outside of her own creative writing classes but once she gets a handle on things, she plans on writing more. As far as readers go, that community is small too but has a few more people in it. I’ve had multiple people give me feedback on my stories strictly from the consumer’s POV and the feedback has definitely helped. It’s like using an app: the user is sure to find something wrong with it, even if they themselves have no idea how to fix that something. That’s my job.
I obviously use WordPress as my own little community as well as Wattpad. Unfortunately with Wattpad, almost being like a social media platform for stories and authors, if no one looks for your stories or clicks a link to them from an outside source, it’s really hard to get many people on the site to read it if you aren’t one of the many people who dedicated all their time to building their profiles. Some authors have gotten book deals after gaining a following on Wattpad but you have to almost live on the site, liking and sharing comments all the time, in order to get anyone to notice your profile let alone your work. It’s a great platform, I may just need to dedicate more time to build it up.
In a world where the majority would rather watch a video than read a story, it’s very difficult to grow as a writer. Getting someone to read your work let alone provide feedback is hard to come by. The upside, though, since very few people actually studied English or storytelling in school, many wannabe writers are quickly flushed out as their stories don’t make sense, are told with no real goal in mind, and find themselves talking about writing rather than actually doing any of it.
Sadly, not enough people read or write anymore. And when I say read, I mean actually sitting down and reading a book, not an article on Facebook or an Instagram caption. It’s hard to get advice from good writers who’ve made their living doing so because they’re virtually unreachable. Writers tend to be very private beings and I’ve noticed once writers become best-sellers, they limit how available they are. Very few have contact emails and if they do, it’s probably to their agent. There are plenty out there who have done Q&As and interviews which is helpful. Stephen King has a lot of them on YouTube.
I’d like to see more people from the writing community actually connect with other writers and share their work, rather than just ask publishing advice as most forums seem to entail. There is no sense of worrying about publishing woes when you don’t even have a polished draft to offer. Take care of that beast first. Share your work and help others out. That way, you can become a better writer through feedback and you can possibly read your next favorite novel before it even gets published.