by Michael Bedford
Published at 2020-04-08
Although in-person writing circles and book clubs will eventually reclaim their rightful places in public libraries and diners across the land, online editorial communities are rapidly becoming the new — and only — norm for writers and editors who want to keep in touch. It’s important to stay connected, especially during a crisis, because so much can change in a matter of moments. News writers, business writers, sports writers, and — especially now — health and science writers need opportunities to exchange ideas, discuss the events of the day, and blow off steam. The resources that Lesley-Anne and I mentioned in our previous articles, “5 Amazing Resources for Writers: How You Can Get Involved in the Writing Community” and “Notes from a Town & Country Editor and Writer,” respectively, are still as helpful as ever, but if you’re looking for more of an online community then try a few of the following groups.
If you haven’t joined already, take the time to request membership to Greg Ioannou’s Facebook group Editors’ Association of Earth. Although obviously an online community for editors more than writers, this group gives editorial professionals an online forum in which we can do what most of us do best, debate grammar and usage issues ad nauseum. Because of its global reach, Editors’ Association of Earth also gives editorial professionals opportunities to connect with fellow wordsmiths around the world. This is a particularly useful feature to translators who can compare their linguistic knowledge with that of contemporary users of the language they’re translating.
Greg’s description for the group says it all: “Think of EAE as your local editors’ pub. We hang out together, generally enjoying each other's company. But there's a more serious purpose: EAE is a forum where editors of words socialize, share knowledge and links, ask questions, and discuss matters of editorial interest.”
Operating since 1970, Poets & Writers continues to be an informative resource for editorial and literary matters of the day. Having expanded their operation over their 50 years of service to the literary community, Poets & Writers offers content on a variety of platforms, including their website, their periodical, and their well-curated Twitter handle.
Though temporarily suspended, Poets & Writers regularly funds 2,000 live literary events per year. Lucky for the literary community, Poets & Writers has refocused this funding, and instead provides for organizations hosting virtual literary events. Interested parties should check the application guidelines.
It’s easy to find writers’ Facebook groups but it’s often a bit harder to find ones that aren’t littered with advertisements for other people’s novels of varying quality and genre. Writers Helping Writers offers an online community for creative writers to give each other constructive feedback without forcing its members to wade through each other’s ads. This is a strictly monitored group with well-defined rules, and these are two key features of any useful online community. One element that might rub group members the wrong way is the post-by-approval setting. For my part, though, post-by-approval is a small price to pay for a Facebook group feed free of users’ advertisements.
Although far less focused than the above groups, #WritingCommunity gives writers an online environment where they can crack jokes, post memes, and look for networking and crosslinking opportunities. What #WritingCommunity lacks in professionalism, it makes up for in diversity and entertainment value. You may not find an answer to whether you should use “further” or “farther,” but you’re likely to find a few funny anecdotes and a lot of networking opportunities.
This Twitter hashtag shares some features of #WritingCommunity but the tenor of the conversation, although still very informal, is often more engaging. #AmWriting is a great place for creative writers to go for emotional support and to vent about difficulties they’re having writing, about their publishers, about their rejections, and sometimes even about their editors. Like any hashtag, there’s no guarantee that what’s posted will be worthwhile — there isn’t even a guarantee that what’s posted will have anything to do with writing — but those few helpful tweets you do find are often worth the hunt.
Whichever online literary and editorial communities you’re a part of, the important thing is to stay connected. We at The Editing Company are here to help in all matters linguistic as well, of course. Our blog collection is a veritable treasure trove of editorial information. So until we meet again in person, let’s meet online, and let’s keep writing.
Michael Bedford is a freelance editor, copywriter, and performer living in Mount Hope, Ontario. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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