When John Soares interviewed Lori Widmer and me about the 5 Buck Forum at About Writing Squared I was surprised to discover that some readers of this site had missed the announcements about the membership site. One suggested I write about the benefits of a forum for writers.
Here are five ways belonging to a writers forum can help you with your freelance writing career.
Break up isolation. Freelance writers normally work alone. It’s the nature of the beast. We work at our computers in home offices or in coffee shops with earphones to block noise. A writer’s forum is one way to break up that isolation on your terms. You decide when to drop in and you decide if you want to interact or just read what’s going on. When you participate regularly in a forum you begin to develop relationships there which can help move you out of yourself and into communication with others.
A way to help others. One of the best ways to get out of ourselves and quit obsessing is to reach out and help someone else. It’s surprising how often even a writer in the very beginning of their career can answer a question or make a suggestion that is truly helpful. Who doesn’t feel better when they get to share their knowledge?
Get help with your writing. A supportive writing forum can help you with your writing. Sometimes that help is informal, like when one writer asks ‘how would you say this?’ and members respond. When there’s ample interest in a particular kind of writing - copywriting, corporate writing, writing for trade magazines, etc., special groups, even critique groups, can be formed within the forum.
Get help with your writing business. Conducting the business of freelance writing is sometimes mysterious and often confusing for writers. A forum that has experienced freelancers as well as new ones and everything in between has a collective expertise about the business side of freelance writing. You’ll often find your question about contracts, taxes, marketing, etc. has already been answered. If you can’t find what you need, it’s easy to ask. Knowing you’re not alone with the business aspects of writing can be a real help.
Have some fun. A writer’s forum can provide a break in the day, and even some fun. As forum members get to know each other there’s often some humor tossed back and forth, as well as suggestions about getting away from the writing and out into the world for re-creation.
Of course, my favorite writing forum is the one I helped create – the 5 Buck Forum. Lori and I make sure it’s supportive. Obviously, it’s not the only one around.
What writing forums do you belong to?