Do writers write alone?
The answer is yes… and no.
Just look at The Writers in Residence. This group is composed of several women who love to write, and do write extensively. Our writing takes place alone, since actual writing is generally a solitary pursuit.
But then there is this group. As many of us as possible get together for lunch monthly as well as blogging here on a schedule, and keeping in touch via email about what’s going on in our writing.
So though we generally write alone, being in communication with each other is also important to us. And The Writers in Residence is far from being the only writing organization.
In fact, when I meet someone who’s a new writer, or who wants to write, and would like my advice on how to proceed, my first response is generally to tell them to join a writing organization. A general writing organization is fine, but if they happen to write in a genre, then that organization should focus on whatever genre it is.
Why? Writers enjoy helping other writers. We encourage others to write and give advice on how to write and how to sell and promote what we’ve written. Newbies can learn a lot from organizations and talks that are given there and meeting new people with similar interests and… well, a lot of ways.
So me? In addition to The Writers in Residence, I belong to the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, including their Los Angeles chapters. That’s because I write mysteries. I additionally belong to the Romance Writers of America and its Los Angeles, Orange County and Santa Clarita chapters–because I also write romances, mostly romantic suspense. Then there is the International Thriller Writers. Yes, I’m considering writing a thriller. There’s also the Dog Writers of America. And as any of you who are reading this and are aware of my writing know, nearly everything I write these days has dogs in it!
I also attend quite a few writing conferences. This year, that will include Malice Domestic, which is all about cozy mysteries, as well as the Romance Writers of America National Conference.
I enjoy interacting with other writers, learning from them and informing them of anything I know that might be helpful to them. Plus, I love hearing their writing information and suggestions. I know I’m not alone in that. So if any of you reading this are writers who want to learn more–and what writer doesn’t want to learn more about our craft and related topics–then join a writers organization or a writers group, or more than one!
And by the way, I’m delighted to say that my first book to be published this year, Second Chance Soldier, is currently available. It’s the first in my new K-9 Ranch Rescue miniseries for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, and it’s all about dog training, mystery solving and, yes, romance!
Linda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, writes the Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries for Midnight Ink. She has also written the Superstition Mysteries for Midnight Ink as well as the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spin-off from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. She additionally currently writes the K-9 Ranch Rescue miniseries for Harlequin Romantic Suspense about a ranch where dogs are trained, as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries about shapeshifters for Harlequin Nocturne. And yes, they all involve dogs. Her most recent release is her 47th published novel, with more to come…soon.
12 thoughts on “Do Writers Write Alone? by Linda O. Johnston”
Linda, you are our most prolific and eclectic writer so far. Mysteries and dogs, romance, suspense, thrills: how can you go wrong! Thanks for encouraging writers to join critique groups, blogs and organizations. VERY wise advice. I’ve recently discovered two Facebook groups that I love, and from them, a few delightful weekly or daily writing blogs. Write! And connect!
It’s true that online groups can be fun and helpful too! Connecting with other writers with similar interests is great, no matter how you do it.
This is such encouraging advice to new writers and even for established writers who just need to talk with others who do the same thing. Plumbers have conventions and even meet for lunch sometimes to talk about their trade, so why not writers? And there is nothing like helping out the writer who just needs a little advice. Giving back to others in one’s field is a good thing. This is a great article, Linda.
Thanks, Gayle. People in many professions get together for camaraderie and to exchange information. I used to schmooze with other attorneys when I was practicing law. I think it’s equally or more important for writers to get together because our work is mostly so solitary.
Excellent advice, Linda. Whether someone is new to the craft or a published author, joining groups with like-minded people can be encouraging and supportive. As you point out, writing is a solitary pursuit. However I doubt any of us could have accomplished as much as we have without the help and support of other writers whom we’ve met through groups.
Thanks, Miko. I know I’ve learned a lot from quite a few writers and writers groups over the years and appreciate them all!
I agree that there’s nothing like the company of writers. I belong to Sisters in Crime and James River Writers. JRW is a Richmond, Virginia group that includes all genres. Linda, I look forward to seeing you at Malice next month.
I’ll look forward to seeing you too, Maggie. We have some all-genre groups around L.A., too, and I sometimes attend their meetings as well.
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Very helpful post, Linda, and encouraging, especially to writers feeling lost or isolated. Funny, I’m a member of several SinC groups, and California Writers Club, and PSWA–but often don’t attend their events–but just knowing I’m part of the “group” is very emotionally satisfying. Says you’re not alone, and the friendships you develop (personally or electronically) are invaluable. Of course Writers in Residence is number one on my list! (smile) Excellent post.
That can be a problem for writers, feeling alone or lost. Just knowing a group is out there for you does help–and I attend as many meetings as I can for most of the organizations and groups I belong to. And I love Writers in Residence!
I’m glad that you are a part of so many writer’s groups. Writing groups can give us feedback and help us form friendships. And yet, even with writing groups and other writing friends, being a writer can still feel lonely. I don’t know if many of us naturally feel lonely. But even with all my writing friends, I feel lonely as a writer.
Sorry to hear that you feel lonely, Jonathon. Maybe you can work that into your writing somehow! And do check in with friends who write, here and in whatever groups you belong to. You can be sure that writers care about other writers!