• Valerie Miller

The Writer’s Community




No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.  John Donne

Throw the confetti.

Ring the sirens.

Clap hands.

Cheer.

I have just completed my first week of drafting. I've also discovered that support from other writers has been an important part of the process.

I belong to a few writing groups on Facebook and on Meetups. I also manage the Women Writing for Women Meetup group here in Brisbane. Belonging to these groups have helped me make some great connections with other writers.

Social media has also helped me to connect with writers both here in Australia and around the world.

I have started to build a community of writers that has my back. They say that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, I believe that it takes a community of writers to build a writer.

Writing is a solitary activity. But online connectivity can reduce that isolation.


Where the industrial revolution connected communities together, the technological revolution, that started in the 1990s, is connecting vast numbers of people, regardless of geography, with rapid speed. In my groups on Facebook and through Twitter and Instagram, I am building strong relationships with writers from Brisbane, other parts of Australia, and the rest of the world.

There's a promise in the heart of every good dream / It's a call to action, not to fantasy / The end of a dream, the start of what's real / Let it be unity, let it be community.  Adam Clayton

I’d like to share an anecdote, not related to writing, but one that proves how strong online connection can be. In January 2015 my family and I were on holiday in the USA. We had planned to visit the Napper Valley, but due to an earthquake that had occurred a few months earlier, we decided to go to Yosemite instead. During our time in Yosemite, which is one of the most picturesque and surreal places on earth, we met an American couple from California. We connected straight away. We only spent three days with them but there was instant chemistry. Sharon and I continued our friendship via Facebook. Nearly six years on we have become great friends through our posts and, in the last year, have started exchanging letters. Yep, the old fashion kind: snail mail.

This is the positivity of social media - connectivity and community.

One more example. This one is directed to writing. In 2019 I started an online Masters of Letters in Creative Writing. Through this postgraduate degree, I met a scriptwriter. We connected immediately and by the second semester, we were calling or Facetiming each other weekly to discuss our work in progress. We were also there for each other when the challenges got tough. Taking turns, at different times during the course, to talk one of us off the ‘I’m going to withdraw’ ledge. We’ve become the best of friends and beta read each others work.

I am convinced that belonging to a community of writers is very important. During my first week of drafting, the doubts and self-flagellation of my work began to seep in. I’m aware of these brutal nemeses and I work hard to ignore them. I’m always calling on my go-to affirmations to lob them out of my headspace. What I also discovered was that my community can help a great deal with negative self-talk.


With community; comes friendship. Nikhil Parekh

Three days into my first draft I began to develop questions about the whole drafting process. These questions became a sneaky, back-door entry into my mind. Fuelling, in an indirect manner, my inner critique, who is always waiting with anticipation to pull me down and debilitate my writing process.


I’m very aware that the first thing to do to get a book written is to write it. To get to the end. That you can’t keep going over and over what you've written, revising the beginning and trying to make it perfect, if you don’t know the end. I'm very aware of this and this is my one big goals. To get to the end. Which is why I have a daily word count range that I aim for and, a deadline to keep me on track.

However, being the curious creature I am. My thoughts always start to spout a number of incessant questions that were, not only interfering with my creativity but causing me to doubt my process.

Do I edit as I go?

Do I just push on and ignore what I have written?

Do I need to write it fast? Or slowly?

I posted these questions in a writing group on Facebook and received mountains of replies. It was fantastic to get other writers’ perspectives on the drafting process, read their advice and gain their support. It actually changed the rhetoric in my headspace. My inner critique’s voice was replaced by the positive comments that my peers had posted. I felt at ease and self-assured. With this community of voices now infiltrating my mind, my drafting began to flourish.


I haven't looked back. Only forward.

Every person is defined by the communities she belongs to. Orson Scott Card

If you are also an emerging writer or working on your first draft, or at any process of your writing journey, remember, it takes a community of writers to build a writer.

Build your community and see how your own writing will flourish.



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