How Introverts Can Thrive in The Online Writing Community
About the Author: Lauren Simonis-Hunter
Lauren Simonis-Hunter is a YA writer, digital marketing manager, and most importantly, dog mom. She's also on a mission to help new writers through Writer's Sett, a blog dedicated to writing resources.
The online writing community can provide a world of support and encouragement in your writing journey.
But socializing and networking with fellow writers can be a daunting task, even for chatty extroverts. As a writer who leans more toward introversion, I’ve had to learn how to engage in the online writing community in a way that is comfortable to me — but that also but pushes me out of my comfort zone in a healthy way.
Today, I’d love to share with you, my fellow introverted writers, how I’ve made the most of engaging online…
How to engage in the online writing community…
1) Participate in Twitter Chats.
One of my favorite ways to interact with fellow writers is through Twitter chats. These hour-long group conversations are coordinated at a specific time and use a unique hashtag to distinguish itself from other tweets. One person (or account) typically hosts the chat, posting questions and driving engagement.
Twitter chats provide an easy way to dip into the online writing community because of their structure. New participants join in every chat, while seasoned chatters contribute regularly to the conversation. You'll have set questions to answer so you don’t have to freestyle the conversation. Many of these questions focus on how you work as a writer and are set up to help inspire and provide guidance in your writing growth.
There really aren’t any right or wrong answers to these questions, which makes participation easy. You can simply answer the questions and leave it at that, which may be appealing if you are more introverted or new to Twitter chats. But if you're looking for an additional level of engagement, you can respond to other participants’ answers and start side conversations throughout the chat.
Personally, I’ve only met lovely and welcoming individuals in the Twitter chats I’ve participated in. If you're looking for a new chat to join, one of my absolute favorites is Kristen's #StorySocial, which takes place every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern. Everyone is friendly, and it’s truly an environment everyone can enjoy.
2) Utilize Social Media Hashtags.
If you're ready to dive into deeper waters, check out some of the writing hashtags on your favorite social media platforms. On Twitter, #WritingCommunity is popular. On Instagram, check out #amwriting or #writerslife.
While these hashtags aren't structured like a Twitter chat, you can easily use them to find other writers to reach out to and connect with. Yes, this can be a bit scary because you are putting yourself out there. But again, you'll find that many people on these hashtags are extremely friendly and want to interact with other writers — or they wouldn't be using the hashtags!
If this sounds beyond your comfort zone, don’t jump straight into opinionated conversations. Instead, try cheering another writer's success or answering any questions they may have. When you're ready for more in-depth conversations, start one. Ask writers about their work or how they manage specific aspects of their writing life. Who knows? You may just make a new friend.
3) Reach out to Established Authors.
One of the scariest ways to interact online is to engage with established authors. Often, I don’t even bother with commenting on their posts for two reasons.
Firstly, I doubt they’ll see my response. Yes, this is ridiculous, but it's just one of those mental blocks I’ve had to overcome. In reality, authors probably will see my comments even if they don’t personally reply, and perhaps my words will put a smile on their face. Knowing that, if you want to praise an author’s work, you should absolutely do so.
The second reason I fail to comment on authors’ posts is that they’re established and I’m not. Who would want to interact with little old me?, I think. But, guess what? Those authors were in our shoes at some point in their writing journeys. They understand the desire to reach out to their favorite authors.
And the only way we can connect with our favorite authors is if we attend their book signings or speaking events or engage through social media. So, if you want to leave a message or ask an author a question — do it. They may not respond, but you definitely won't receive a reply if you don't reach out.
4) Build Community through Blogging.
You can use blogging to engage in two different ways Firstly, you can run your own blog about your writing experience, whether that be advice you want to share with others or simply documenting your journey to a completed manuscript or publication. You don't have to broadcast your blog if you don't want to. It can be a personal creative outlet until you’re ready to share it with others.
The other way to engage through blogging is to comment on and share the blogs you love to read. This is a great way to acknowledge your favorite articles and support the authors and writers who are blogging for the community. Plus, you may even find yourself interacting with those individuals on social media and creating a relationship.
Tips for engaging in the online writing community…
Now that I’ve shared some easy ways to engage with the online writing community, here are some tips to make it even easier:
1) Be yourself.
People don't want to interact with inauthentic people. They want the real you. Especially on Twitter, authors tend to share all parts of their writing experiences, including the not-so-great parts. Share as much or as little as you want, but just be you.
2) Be Thoughtful.
If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. I don't mean you can't share critical opinions. Being critical can be very important. But you can be critical without being nasty. The writing community is smaller than you’d think, so just be thoughtful about how you interact when you disagree with others. Also, don't feed the trolls. You can ignore them, and things will be okay.
3) Don't be spammy.
This probably isn't a big issue with us introverts, but it's worth mentioning. Don't tweet at someone repetitively to get their attention. Don't set up auto DM’s in an attempt to sell your books to every new follower. If a behavior would be annoying to you, it's probably best to avoid it.
4) Be social.
Social media should be social; it's in the name! It's absolutely okay to lurk and not necessarily interact with everyone you follow, but don’t spend all your time lurking. Find the people you’re comfortable with and interact with them. Trust me, you'll have more fun when you find people you enjoy engaging with.
Now that you know how you can interact with the online writing community as an introvert, it’s time to get do it. Join a Twitter chat, comment on one of Kristen’s posts, come say hello to me on Instagram or Twitter, or start following hashtags on your favorite platform. The writing community is great, and we can’t wait for you to join us!