As we all know, writing can be a very lonely hobby and profession. If it’s your full time job, you may spend up to 8 hours of the day, like Stewart O’Nan, at your computer or desk or typewriter or notebook. If it’s a hobby, you probably try to spend at least a couple of hours, like me, at your computer, et al, and 8 hours or more at work, and hours with family, and (if you’re lucky) at least 7 to 8 hours sleeping. (Wouldn’t that be nice!) With all that time alone, how do you get to meet people, socialize, find other writers who share your pain and celebrations?
One of the greatest tools I have found is Meetup.com. Meetup.com is a website devoted to bringing people together via the internet to meet in real life activities and events. They can be found in most every city – the major hubs, obviously, but some smaller cities too. (When I searched my hometown, which is notably smaller than my current city of residence, I found over 100. Flint, Michigan with a population of just 100,000 also had over 100 groups.)
Now, you may be thinking, “What does that have to do with writing?” Well, like I say; writing can be a lonely business, but humans are generally social animals. So finding a group that you can cut loose with is important. The site has groups that are of vast interests and purposes. Let’s remember, too, that writing is a sedentary activity, so if you can find a group that goes on a hike once a week or gets together for tennis or other sport, you can get some exercise too.
And, of course, every city I searched had at least one group of writers. If you can get in with a good writing group, you are on your way to completion and success. While Meetup is not the only way, it is one of several ways to find a good writing group that can help advise you and critique your work. I attribute the completion of my first MS entirely to a writing group I attended for about 5 years. A good group can be an excellent source of motivation, wonderful critique, and a solace when you are struggling with your work.
So look for a good Meetup in your area, and get out and find writers!