Columns > Published on October 24th, 2019

How IRL Writing Friends Make This Whole Journey A Million Times Better

Photo by Dennis Magati

There’s something about knowing you’re not alone on the journey that makes it a million times easier.

By journey, I mean life in the grander scheme, but also publishing, book-loving-and-writing, blogging...that journey as well.

For a long time after graduating undergrad, I felt alone in my writing. I had writer friends, but they were journalist writer friends. I had left all my novelists behind when I donned my cap and gown to receive my diploma, and it was hard to find them again.

Ultimately, it was the internet that saved me and my friendships with other writers of books. I found the most incredible writers via Facebook, then Twitter; I found fellow book lovers on Instagram, YouTube, and via their blogs; I found a whole community of people just as wrapped up in this weird, wacky, wonderful world as I am.

I met a lot of really amazing writers and bookish people, people whom I now cherish and know I can text or DM on Twitter and say “hey, I have a question about my book,” or, “Do you wanna get brunch?”

But they stayed online. Even though I lived in New York (or maybe because I lived in New York! Making friends is hard here!) I rarely got the chance to meet up with people in-person. I’d have scattered friendships, but what I really wanted was a writing group. One that I could meet up with at a coffee shop, one with whom I could celebrate the highs and mourn the constant rejections, one with whom I could sit in silence writing for hours only to suddenly turn and say, “But omg what if I made this a dual POV!” and get a reasonable, excited response to go along with my excited, mildly unreasonable interruption.

This summer, I finally got that. I’ve previously written about my online writing groups, and about the importance of finding your writing “people,” even if it’s virtual. And as much as those online friendships remained (and remain) important to me, I found myself wishing for a group to meet in-person.

So what did I do?

Well, I did what I’ve always done when looking for more writing friends: I turned to the internet. A critique partner of mine and I put out a call on Twitter asking for friends in the city to join our writing group, and, to my utter shock and delight: people responded!

The thing about the writing group is, it turned out nothing like I planned. I mean, looking at it from a point of view of whether or not things went according to my calculations, you would think it was an utter disaster. I had this whole four-week rotation mapped out, where we’d write for two weeks, workshop one week, and have a party the fourth, and...that just didn’t pan out.

People’s schedules were too unpredictable, summers in New York are filled with people taking off for neighboring states every other day it seems, and then there was school and work and house parties and —

Basically, we were busy.

What did work out, though, is that I met a lot of really amazing writers and bookish people, people whom I now cherish and know I can text or DM on Twitter and say “hey, I have a question about my book,” or, “Do you wanna get brunch?”

People with whom I’ve celebrated announcements, articles going viral, and other writerly touchstones.

People I’ve gotten to go to book events with (so that, for once, I wasn’t sitting alone in a corner, that One Rando with No Friends).

People who’ve become a part of my life in a way I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

I know this is possible for me in part because I live in New York, a city where it’s easy to find other writers and readers and book launches and cafes to write in. I tried finding a writer’s group back in South Carolina, where I lived before this, and it was much more difficult. So if you live somewhere that finding a writers’ group is hard: I feel that. I really do! 

Despite that, I still want to encourage everyone to try. Join NaNoWriMo and see if you have a municipal liaison hosting events this month. (And then poach your favorite people for your own events the rest of the year!) If you’re a member of a writing organization, like SCBWI or RWA, reach out through those and see what’s available. Go to a local bookstore for an event and just strike up a conversation with another solitary person. Or do what I did: go on Twitter and blast the heck out of your request for writer friends.

I promise you, it’s worth it in the end.

About the author

Karis Rogerson is a mid-20s aspiring author who lives in Brooklyn and works at a cafe—so totally that person they warn you about when you declare your English major. In addition to embracing the cliched nature of her life, she spends her days reading, binge-watching cop shows (Olivia Benson is her favorite character) and fangirling about all things literary, New York and selfie-related. You can find her other writing on her website and maybe someday you’ll be able to buy her novels.

Similar Columns

Explore other columns from across the blog.

Book Brawl: Geek Love vs. Water for Elephants

In Book Brawl, two books that are somehow related will get in the ring and fight it out for the coveted honor of being declared literary champion. Two books enter. One book leaves. This month,...

The 10 Best Sci-Fi Books That Should Be Box Office Blockbusters

It seems as if Hollywood is entirely bereft of fresh material. Next year, three different live-action Snow White films will be released in the States. Disney is still terrorizing audiences with t...

Books Without Borders: Life after Liquidation

Though many true book enthusiasts, particularly in the Northwest where locally owned retailers are more common than paperback novels with Fabio on the cover, would never have set foot in a mega-c...

From Silk Purses to Sows’ Ears

Photo via Moviegoers whose taste in cinema consists entirely of keeping up with the Joneses, or if they’re confident in their ignorance, being the Joneses - the middlebrow, the ...

Cliche, the Literary Default

Original Photo by Gerhard Lipold As writers, we’re constantly told to avoid the cliché. MFA programs in particular indoctrinate an almost Pavlovian shock response against it; workshops in...

A Recap Of... The Wicked Universe

Out of Oz marks Gregory Maguire’s fourth and final book in the series beginning with his brilliant, beloved Wicked. Maguire’s Wicked universe is richly complex, politically contentious, and fille...

Learning | Free Lesson — LitReactor | 2024-05

Try Reedsy's novel writing masterclass — 100% free

Sign up for a free video lesson and learn how to make readers care about your main character.

Reedsy Marketplace UI

1 million authors trust the professionals on Reedsy. Come meet them.

Enter your email or get started with a social account: