Monday, September 18, 2017

The Benefits of Writerly Camaraderie

By Suzanne Purvis

Part of the How They Do It series

Suzanne Purvis is a transplanted Canadian living in the Deep South, where she traded “eh” for “y’all.” An author of long, short, flash fiction for both children and adults, she has won several awards including those sponsored by the University of Toronto, RWA, Bethlehem Writer’s Roundtable, and Women Who Write. You can find her work in print anthologies, magazines, ezines, and ebooks. 

She leads workshops at Lawson Writer’s Academy and for Romance Writers of America, including her popular Sizzling, Scintillating Synopsis and Revision Boot Camp. She also works individually with writers on any aspect of their writing they are looking to improve. Feel free to email her to be added to her mailing list for upcoming classes.

Next Class: Revision Boot Camp or Retreat begins October 1, 2017 at LWA

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Take it away Suzanne...

Long, long, solitary hours. Tons of rejection. Ongoing critiques. Quandaries regarding the market.

Having some writerly camaraderie is like a refreshing sip of Gatorade during a twenty-six mile marathon. Not that I would know -grin-.

But I do know about support and community and friendship and working alongside others as we slog through the trenches bearing arms--laptops, pens, paper, tablets and chocolate.

Of course there are those in-person opportunities which can be so motivating:
  • writer conferences
  • in-person classes
  • in-person workshops 
  • writer’s retreats

I love them all, even being a huge introvert. But these events can involve a lot of scheduling around family and work, travel expenses, and wardrobe concerns.

With the world now opened through cyberspace, I can connect more often with other writers, weekly, daily, hourly. Much less expensive and I can wear pajamas.

Often it is can mean the difference between getting those words on the page, entering that contest, submitting that query, working on that pitch or synopsis.

And it’s soooooooo easy.
  • Sign up for an online class which offers learning, wisdom, sometimes critique and supportive classmates. You never know you might meet a critique partner or best friend--I did. 
  • Join an online critique group for your genre and meet those wise and wonderful writers sharing your love of romance, or picture books, or fantasy.
  • Hire an online editor or writing coach who can offer critique, guidance, support and corroborate markets all of which is incredibly helpful and supportive of the work.
  • Join a writerly Facebook group for your genre or self-publishing.
  • Meet a community through blogs like this one, comment and join in.
  • There are even online conferences including agent pitches.
And a lot of these are free or a very minimal cost compared to an in person equivalent.

I’m not saying to ditch your face-to-face relationships, why not add to those? Instead of just a yearly conference or workshop you can get support and camaraderie daily if you like. You don’t have to stumble along the writerly road alone.

And as Oprah says when talking about a key to successful weight loss. . .

“The journey is even better when you take it together.

So no more tears. . .

(Unless you love a nice Irish Whiskey.) 

Because. . .

I’m offering an online Writers Retreat or Boot Camp coming up in October.

You get to choose retreat or Boot Camp and whichever you choose, be ready for daily support, accountability, check-ins, revision lessons, plenty of camaraderie, inspiration, and productivity.

No more writer’s solitary confinement. 

Hope to see you there. 

Feel free to share how you find your writerly camaraderie.


  1. LOVE this post! Suzanne, you are so right-no more solitary confinement! We writers need a way to connect, whether it be online or in-person. Or both!
    Thanks to your classes, I've not only improved my writerly skills, I've met writerly friends to share the journey. :)

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Sandra. There's nothing like having a best friend as a writer. Thanks so much for being mine. And we met through a local writers group. Just goes to show. :)

  2. I like this, especially wardrobe dilemas, lol. I've been thinking of joining an organization such as Women's Fiction Writers.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, NIta. Definitely join a writers group, you won't be sorry. And Women's Fiction Writers is a wonderful group. I know many members, all supportive fantastic writers.

  3. Thank you for a great post. I know I really need this, but my fear of rejection keeps me from seeking out other writers. I'm secretly afraid that I'll be sneered at: "Pul-leez. You think you're a writer. You're a hairdresser. Leave the writing to us smart people who finished college."
    I'm aware this is greatly exaggerated in my head, so I suppose I have to get over myself and meet people. *sigh*

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your fears, Dominique. I understand, I felt the same way. I thought I needed an English degree to be thought of as a writer. Not so. It took some time, but I realized, the writing world really doesn't work that way. Writers are people just like you, from every profession imaginable. And nobody needs to know you're a hairdresser if you don't tell them. :) You're a writer. Go online and search your genre. I bet you can find a bunch of fabulous supportive writers and friends.

    2. Thanks. I needed that encouragement 😄

  4. Long-time lurker, but had to comment since instructions in post clearly said to comment. I love this blog. I refer to it on my own blog. It's such a resource for all things craft, but also the support is incredible. Huge thanks for the constant material and guidance, even for lurkers like me!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, AM. I agree, I love this blog. I save almost every post and I share many of the posts with my students. So happy I got you out of lurker-mode. Join the community of commenters on this blog. :)

  5. Suzanne, your advice is spot on. I've found wonderful critique partners (and good friends) by taking online classes. I still attend my face-to-face writers group and go to conferences, but exploring online options has expanded my writing world immensely.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Brynn. We never would've met and connected had it not been for classes and workshops. I'm so glad we did.

  6. I teach online writing and publishing classes and thank you so much for pointing out the many benefits to taking them! There are just so many places and things to discover out here if you're a writer.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Linda. I love classes! I've met so many wonderful writers and many I now call friends. What a glorious opportunity to meet like-minded people.