How to Create and Cultivate Community

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By Emilie Hendryx

I can’t help but draw similarities between life as a Christ follower and life as a writer. They both take dedication, belief, creativity, and community among other things. It’s that last one that I really want to draw out though.

Community: A group of people holding a particular characteristic in common.

I’m part of a church plant in the Washington, D.C. area. Six months ago, I uprooted my life in northern Los Angeles to move to the D.C. metro area, Capitol Hill specifically. Despite the confusion and potential isolation that comes with a move like that, one thing has become a constant in my life here: my church community.

As Christians, we benefit from the support of others on our journey with the Lord. I would argue the same is true for writers. The act of writing itself may be singular in nature, but a writer is sustained by the community that surrounds them.

Ways to find community:

Local Writing Groups
Direct interaction with other writers in your area recharges you. Don’t underestimate the power of talking in person. Ideas will spark. Personalities will mesh. Collaboration and critique opportunities will present themselves. Take advantage of this with local writing groups and ACFW local chapters. I hear your protests, introverts, but this sacrifice is for the greater good of your writing health.

Facebook & Social Media
This may sound strange, especially after my praise of face-to-face interaction, but you can also find supportive community via social media. Just recently I’ve connected with another author on Goodreads who I “discovered” on Instagram. If that isn’t modern, I don’t know what is! 😉 The takeaway here is to use social media to move toward more personal interaction like email. This won’t happen with everyone, but it is possible to start meaningful friendships from social media interaction.

The Unknown
This is the most difficult aspect of creating community for yourself, partly because it’s something you just can’t plan for, but also because it involves risk. Hey, I’m a suspense author so I like to live on the edge (even if it’s only on paper). This type of community is formed when you are living passionately. I have met a lot of other writers and photographers by being open about what I love: writing and photography. It’s a byproduct of living genuinely among those around you. Just as we live for Christ and aren’t ashamed to share of the hope we have in Him (1 Peter 3:15), we are also writers and there is no need to be ashamed about that either.

Are you willing to create and cultivate a healthy writing community for yourself? What are some of the challenges you have to overcome? Some of the benefits you’ve seen?

Emilie HendryxEmilie Hendryx lives in Washington, D.C. and fills her time with creative pursuits. She writes, runs a photography business, reads, plays guitar, and drinks too much coffee. She’s a member of ACFW and My Book Therapy and is currently working on a romantic suspense series while dreaming up a YA dystopian world on the side. Check out her blog Thinking Thoughts.

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