Monday, September 22, 2014

Writer Poll: How Do You Find Community?

Freelancers’ Union recently unveiled a new feature on their site called Hives. The intent is to give freelancers a place to connect, support one another, and discuss every aspect of the freelancing life. Freelancers’ Union encourages members to use the Hives to “talk, form groups, organize events, share videos and photos, and meet up with hundreds of thousands of freelancers.”

This got us thinking. Writing is notoriously a lonely job, and freelance writing can be even more so. So we polled our writers to find out what they do to build community, and we got some ingenious responses.

Unions and Workshops
Robert Woodcox is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, as well as the Writers Guild, a writers’ labor union, which he finds is good for discussing political action, financial issues, and other writer-relevant topics that aren’t about the writing process itself.

Temma Ehrenfeld has run a monthly poetry workshop in her home for ten years, where she, a professional editor, and a grant writer read their own and others' poetry. She also has a friend who texts her most days telling her what creative projects he's worked on that day, and asking what she’s accomplished. She finds it’s good to be kept accountable: “Just having to report on what I've done helps,” she says.

Meet Ups
Sheila Lewis organizes “writing dates” with a buddy or two. “Barnes & Noble cafe is a favorite venue, and we reward ourselves with a break for novel browsing,” she says. Sometimes she’ll connect with others at a “destination writing” spot, like the Atrium near Lincoln Center. “Take it offline when you can—at the gym, the JCC, the Y, a school, church, synagogue, or weird hobby group. When you're with real people, something magical and synchronistic happens.”

Catherine Dold is part of a Colorado group called “Boulder Media Women,” which has been going strong for twenty-four years. The group, which started out as informal meetups of a few freelancers, has grown to more than 500 people who get together for Friday morning coffees, monthly potlucks, and Tuesday evening schmoozes.

Shared Space (Physical or Digital)
The Writers Room popped up several times, with several writers saying that the shared work space is where they go to find community.

Sarah Greesonbach stays in touch with other freelance writers and entrepreneurs through Facebook groups and blogs. “These groups give me a good opportunity to ‘check in’ with others throughout the day when I want to, and to not engage when I'm not in the mood.”

None of the Above
Alex Dwyer finds that he simply doesn’t interact with many other writers—and he’s fine with that. “Perhaps its the millennial work/life balancer in me, but I fully enjoy the four-hour blocks when I write in solitude. In non-writing hours, I do non-writing things and interact with all kinds of folks in other facets of life, but I relish and am protective of my solitary writing time.”

Do you have a different method for creating community? Let us know in the comments!

1 comment:

Lee Bob Black said...

Writing at Paragraph provides me with an wonderful community of writers. (Paragraph is a "workspace for writers" on 14th Street, Manhattan.)