The biggest reason for doing this is to convince yourself you're not insane. There are others out there with
weirder ideas than you. And yes, we all talk to our characters. Scarier than that, they talk back.
Seriously, belonging to a writing community is essential to your growth as a writer.
Networking, as they call it, will open up a whole new world for you. You will find new friends, receive feedback, valuable advice and a ton of encouragement. And you never know when one of those new friends may turn into a valuable asset to your career.
Writing is a solitary craft. Unless you have a writing partner, you're on your own. If it's the only thing you're doing, you're going to be spending a lot of time on the computer, alone. Well, not really alone, but we've already covered that.
One thing I always struggled with in my early days of trying to write was making those connections. I live on a 24 square mile island. There aren't a lot of writers groups here, and none that I'd want to join. I've thought about starting one, but then that's just another project I probably don't have time for.
If you're like me and live in a rural area or on an island, you can stand up and praise God for the Internet!
Since I joined American Christian Fiction Writers a few years ago, my writing has improved by leaps and bounds. I've learned so much from these people, made so many wonderful friends, and I wouldn't miss a conference now if my life depended on it!
And that's just one group. If you're writing Christian fiction, you have no reason not to join. In fact, if you don't you're doing yourself a great disservice.
Lately, other writing communities have started popping up over at something called Ning. You can create your own social network here, and many writers are doing so. Here's the link:
I know there are a ton of writing groups there, but for Christian writers you might want to check out Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers, or Women's Fiction, Intrigued by Mystery, Love Inspired Authors and Readers...and many more. Head on over and check it.
As in all things, we must be good stewards of our time. It's easy to get caught up in online communities. I'm trying to be good about this in 2008, and value my writing time. But it's great to have a place to call home where I can kick back and hang out with my fellow writers when I need a break.
See you on the Net!