A writing tribe is the single strongest tool writers have to combat rejection.
A writing tribe is more than a critique group or a writing chapter. A writing tribe is filled with other authors you can trust with your writing, your failures, and your successes. This group will support you when you fail, pick you up when you’re having a down day, and cheer you on when you’ve reached a milestone or seen success.
Writing can be an isolating activity. As writers it can be easy to find yourself dejected and frustrated by the lack of critical feedback. We stare at our computer screens all day, interacting with imaginary people who can feel more real than the people around us.
How do I know my book works? How can I make it better? These are questions every writer has.
This makes writing friends invaluable. Not only do they understand the process, but they can help us out along the way—as critique partners, brainstorming buddies, or just a support network for the many ups and downs of the writing life.
“The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, ‘What? You too? I thought I was the only one.’”
A writing tribe is the single strongest tool writers have to combat rejection.
A writing tribe is more than a critique group or a writing chapter. A writing tribe is filled with other authors you can trust with your writing, your failures, and your successes. This group will support you when you fail, pick you up when you’re having a down day, and cheer you on when you’ve reached a milestone or seen success. Most of the time, this tribe is filled with like-minded authors, even if everyone is writing in different genres.
It can be difficult, however, to meet other writers. Where to start? Whether you’re a café-writer or prefer to put in your hours in your pajamas at home, there are tons of ways to get to meet other writers.
This is a super easy way to ensure you’ll be in the same room with a large number of writers. There are tons of great conferences out there—from large, multi-genre conferences to smaller, more focused conferences. To find writers in your area, consider checking out more regional conferences.
The great thing about writing conferences is that everyone is there for the same purpose, so there are built-in conversation starters. What kind of books do you write? Where are you in the process? What did you think of a particular presentation? Writing conferences provide a lot to talk about, and are designed around creating conversation, so don’t be afraid to strike one up with a stranger.
Some popular conferences in India are – Tata Literature Live, Bangalore Poetry Festival, Goa Arts and Literature Festival.
Pro-Tip: When attending writing conferences, be sure to bring business cards so you can exchange contact info easily. And follow up with people! You never know which connections could turn into lifelong friendships. If you’re not comfortable giving out a personal email, create a writer account, or share your social media accounts.
Another great way to meet other writers is at workshops. There are so many awesome ones out there—they can be focused on anything from the industry to platforming to certain elements of craft or a specific type of book. You’ll be spending a lot of focused time with a smaller group of writers, workshopping each other’s work, and getting to know each other along the way.
This can also be a great place to make connections with industry professionals. So many authors, agents and editors teach at writing workshops. Many times they will critique a partial of your work as part of the workshop, and are available to talk.
Pro-Tip: When attending writing workshops, get to know your fellow writers ahead of time by connecting on social media. And if there are any authors, agents or editors present, do your research beforehand. Know what authors or books they represent, and read a few!
NaNoWriMo is just about to end, but there are almost always writing events going on online. For example, many writers who got derailed by the election are participating in #NaNoReDo in December. Other writers host chats for different genres, or writing sprints. Search different hashtags and see what other writers are doing. You may find yourself with a new writing buddy.
With Bound’s mentorship program, in batches of 6, writers are guided through the process of publishing their manuscript. Bound editors act as sounding boards, and help their writers brainstorm at any stage in the writing process where they may feel stuck.
Read more here.
Pro-Tip: Make yourself easy to recognize on social media by using the same or a similar headshot on different platforms. Use the same picture in your avatar so writers can find you easily!
Whether you just make a quick connection or a friend for life, getting out there and meeting other writers is a great way to spend a day and remember you aren’t alone.
“Kindred souls, interesting conversations and wonderful mentors. Bound Writers Retreat was a perfect amalgamation of everything one would expect from a retreat and more. If you are looking to recharge and find inspiration to write that novel you have always been wanting to write, this would be a great place to start.”
Several times an experienced, multi-published author will say that they don’t have a trusted group of other writers to depend on for support, encouragement, and beta reads or critiques. In fact, many authors come on our writing retreats for the writing workshops…but leave with a writing tribe for the first time in their life.
Attending a writing retreat like Bound helps you more easily find like-minded authors to start building your writing tribe. With Bound, you already know a few things you have in common with the other attending authors. Other retreaters typically are:
The above commonalities are why Bound has naturally grown into a solid writing tribe. Most of our retreaters keep in contact through Facebook. Some of our retreaters have even traveled across the country to visit with each other, and many of them make plans to attend future Bound Writing Retreats. We love seeing our writers succeed, hearing about what they’re writing, and cheering them on when they’ve hit a list or written a great line.
As with any good relationship, a healthy writing friendship needs to benefit both of you through mutual respect, support and encouragement. This can happen by sharing and critiquing writing, holding each other accountable to a certain writing schedule, and/or meeting once a month to talk “shop.” Good writing friends are there for each other and value their time together.
“I want to thank you for setting up the space that is Bound. I feel far more confident about my writing, now that it’s been vetted by a group of most excellent writers. Most importantly, I no longer feel like I’m in a silo, with no opportunities to put myself out there.”
J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis
Ninety-one years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis encountered each other at an Oxford English faculty meeting. It was not friendship at first sight. “No harm in him,” Lewis wrote about his new acquaintance. “Only needs a smack or two.”
Of course, it didn’t take long for the two to become nearly inseparable. They critiqued each other’s early drafts—for Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, and for Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet—and formed their own literary discussion group, The Inklings.
Toni Morrison and James Baldwin
While working as an editor at Random House, Morrison tried to convince Baldwin to sign a book deal. She failed, but the two became lifelong friends.
The two writers admitted the powerful influence the other had on their work, but Morrison put it the most touchingly in her eulogy for Baldwin: “You knew, didn’t you? How I relied on your fierce courage to tame wildernesses for me? How strengthened I was by the certainty that came from knowing you would never hurt me? You knew, didn’t you, how I loved your love? You knew.”
“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other.”
George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)
Rheea Rodrigues Mukherjee is the author of The Body Myth (Unnamed Press /Penguin India 2019) which was shortlisted for the Tata Literature Live First Book Award. Her work has been published and featured in Scroll.in, Southern Humanities Review, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Vogue India, Out of Print, TBLM, and Bengal Lights, among others. She co-founded Bangalore Writers Workshop in 2012 and currently co-runs Write Leela Write, a Design and Content Laboratory in Bangalore, India. Rheea has an MFA in creative writing from California College of the Arts.