• PolishedPages

How a Writing Community Can Help During Self-Isolation

There is a lot going on in the world today. Most of us are trapped inside while our jobs and livelihoods hang in the balance. Scrolling through social media instantly reminds us that not everyone has the same opinion on how to handle this global crisis.

Meanwhile, we’re facing months of unstructured, uninterrupted free time. If you’re an artist or writer, you’re likely looking at social distancing as a gift (to a certain extent). Unless you are preoccupied with taking care of your young children or are called to the line of duty in some medical capacity, there is literally no better time than now to work on your book.

Hell, there is no better time to finish your book.

So, why are we saying that joining an online community of writers at a time when you can (finally!) have a moment to yourself can help you improve your writing?

Here’s why, my sweets:

You Might Just Find Something Helpful

You’re trapped inside with your kids and spouse. They’re great people. They’re your heart and soul. But they could be otherwise useless when it comes to bouncing around ideas or helping you overcome writer's block. A writing community is by far the most helpful social circle for anyone who wants advice with their story.

You might feel icky about sharing something as personal as your unfinished work to practical strangers (I don’t know any writer who doesn’t feel weird about exposing their raw work to someone they don’t know), but trust me, anyone who joins an online group probably feels the same way.

And they need help, too. Just the fact that writers have a safe space to talk shop can be enough to get your creative juices flowing. Who knows, maybe your insight may be what a struggling writer desperately needed to hear.

Creativity Breeds Creativity

I’m going to be really straight with you right now: get over yourself. Of course, I mean that in the most loving way possible. And when I tell you to get over yourself, I’m really saying that there’s no reason to be insecure about your work.

If the reason you haven’t joined a writing community is that you’re scared of someone ripping apart something that’s very dear to your heart, I promise you that’s not the case. Sure, there are some people out there whose own insecurities manifest into highly critical personalities, but most of the time, writers are incredibly supportive. You can choose to see every other writer as your competition or as your kindred spirit.

In the end, we’re all just introverted book nerds who have a passion for storytelling. Surrounding yourself with likeminded people should not be demoralizing or an exercise in masochism. It’s likely the uplifting interaction you didn’t know you needed.

That’s because creativity is a positive force that breeds further creativity. The greatest writers in history surrounded themselves with other great writers. Leonard and Virginia Woolf included the likes of E.M. Forster, T.S. Eliot, Katherine Mansfield, and Hugh Walpole in their inner circle. And Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein would not have been written if Lord Byron and her husband, Percy Shelley, had not devised a friendly competition to see who could write the best spooky story to accompany their miserable summer holiday in Geneva.

Everyone Can Relate

Whether you’ve been writing like mad or can’t seem to get past the first sentence, I guarantee that there’s someone in the writing community who’s going through the exact same thing as you. And at a time when we’re forced to isolate ourselves, knowing that someone is having a similar experience can be a gentle salve to your loneliness.

Social distancing doesn’t automatically make us better writers. But just having a platform where you can share your feelings, frustrations, and accomplishments with like-minded people can be the little lift that you needed.

What we’re going through right now is unprecedented. You might find that all this free time is adding even more pressure on you to be creative. Pressure leads to stress, which is often the killer of creativity. Talking to other writers and finding out that self-isolation hasn’t magically made them super productive writing machines will ease the pressure, which will lower your stress, which might actually give you the headspace to work on your story.

You will soon find out that social distancing is a misnomer. Joining a community of writers will make you feel more socially connected than ever before.

Are you in search of a safe and friendly space to share your ideas and ask for advice about your own work? Join Polished Pages’ very own online writing community!