5 Ways A Writing Forum Can Work For You

by Anne Wayman

The supportive writer's forumWhen 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?

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Nikki April 19, 2012 at 8:20 am

I belong to the 5 Buck Forum of course and it has been the best $5 I’ve ever spent monthly. I’m learing so much and I know that I’m in a supportive environment so no question is too silly. Plus it amazes me how much I’ve learned over the last 6 years of freelancing that I’m now in a position to (occasionally) offer advice as well.
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annew April 19, 2012 at 9:25 am

Thanks for the testimonial Nikki!

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Cathy Miller April 18, 2012 at 6:52 am

As you know, Anne, I am not a lover of forums, but the 5 Buck Forum delivers! I love the community and the generosity. It rocks! :-)
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annew April 18, 2012 at 10:09 am

Love your testimonial Cathy and love having you in the forum too.

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Grady Pruitt April 18, 2012 at 5:48 am

I’ve always enjoyed forums as a great place to meet people from a variety of places. Especially if you have areas that are protected (ie not visible to the general web), they can be great places for feedback on your writings. Not to mention being great places to ask questions to find out all kinds of information.

Thanks for sharing!
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annew April 18, 2012 at 10:09 am

So true, Grady. Thanks.

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Amandah April 18, 2012 at 4:06 am

Currently, I’m in three writing forums. One is for guest blogging, another is for blogging, and the last one is for freelance writers.

I encourage writers, especially new freelance writers, to seek out and join forums. You can ask questions about the business and creative side of freelance writing. Most ‘new’ writers don’t know ‘how to’ create a contract or don’t understand ‘how to’ say “No” to a potential client.

Joining a writing forum is a good way to receive support from writers and to give it. Some writers don’t have support from family and friends. Writing forums and groups give writers the support they need and deserve.
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annew April 18, 2012 at 10:06 am

Thanks Amandah… well said.

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WritersWritingWords (Eleni) April 17, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Yes, writing can be so lonesome and the writing business so confusing at times.
Haven’t joined the 5 Buck Forum yet, but it’s among my imminent plans.
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annew April 18, 2012 at 10:02 am

Eleni, when you do join, if you do, we’ll be glad to have you there too.

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Ellen April 17, 2012 at 11:51 am

I belong to the best one around – the 5 buck forum! :)
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annew April 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Thanks Ellen, and we love having you there too.

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Sharon Hurley Hall April 17, 2012 at 9:48 am

Mine too, John – it’s my favorite place to hang out with writers online.
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annew April 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Love having you too, Sharon, as I suspect you know.

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John Soares April 17, 2012 at 8:33 am

Anne, I think my favorite aspect of About Writing Squared is the virtual water cooler — I get to chat with fellow writers.
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annew April 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Yes, exactly, a virtual water cooler… I haven’t spent enough time in job jobs to have that right on the tip of my pen as it were.

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