Writing, more than any other profession, is incredibly lonely and isolating. We spend our time holed up in rooms, alone with our words. We work on several drafts, each of them subtly different from the other, and then are hurt when our friends ask whether our books will ever be done. Sometimes, only other writers understand us. Yet, where do we find these soul-mates? Unlike other jobs, writers don’t go to writer’s offices or work together in a single place. But, more than any other employee, writers need the closeness and camaraderie of like-minded colleagues.
In the four years that I have been writing fiction, I have found several writer-friends in a bunch of places. They are:
Library events: Does your local public library host events for the community? A poetry night maybe, or a book group, or discussions of popular fiction? If so, you can be certain that other writers will gravitate to these events, especially if they are held regularly. I’ve often been engrossed in a discussion of poetry and then found that another listener in the neighboring chair is equally engaged. I often try to find a way to start up a conversation – if there’s someone indoors on a weekday, listening to discussions about books, chances are that they are a writer.
Book-clubs: The situation is quite similar with book clubs, too. I’ve never been to a book club that was not attended by at least one aspiring writer, and very often, that writer is the founder of the club. So if you are able to set aside one evening every month, you may well find that between discussing books and writing, you are slowly getting to be friends with another writer like yourself.
Literary readings: Have you ever met a non-writer who attends book readings? Perhaps you have, but they are few and far between. Literary readings tend to be as much about the craft of fiction, and the story behind the book, as about the book itself, and are very well attended by writers – both very successful authors and aspiring scribes. So attend as many of these as you can – who knows you may not only make a writing buddy, but even find a writing mentor.
Writing classes: This is by far the best place to meet other writers. Each member of your class or lecture will be another writer, and you can network and socialize before and after the class. If you really serious about building an in-person writing network, this is your surest bet. Check out your local community college or bookshop for writing classes, and find the writing buddies you’ve long been searching for.