One way to get more writing done is to gather others around you who share your goal.

A supportive writing community can be the difference between sticking with a productive writing plan and going back to letting writing fall to the bottom of your list. A good writing community is particularly important for academics, who often feel alone in their struggles to write and publish more.

In this post, I’ll outline five characteristics of a good writing community so that you can find or create one that will work for you.

#1: Diversity

In my opinion, academic writing groups are enhanced by diversity. Bringing together a mix of fields, methodologies, and perspectives is an excellent way to expand your writing horizons. Although there are certainly similarities across academic genres, even the academic article looks very different in different fields.

I think that we have much to learn from writers in fields very different from ours. Everyone is telling a story in their work, scientists and humanists alike. Finding the underlying glue that binds our writing together is both inspirational and productive. Hanging and writing with people who see the world differently from you can only make your writing better.

#2: Consistency

A writing group needs to be filled with committed people. When everyone truly prioritizes the writing group (and their writing), magic can happen. If you are in a writing group, meeting times should be clear, announced well ahead of time, and regular. The writing group needs to be a rock: a solid touch point in a sea of competing obligations.

#3: Camaraderie

A writing group needs to feel like your people. They need to “get” you. They need to understand your stress, how your semester ebbs and flows. How reviewer #2 can derail even the most confident among us. They need to believe in you and your message, and your unique ability to deliver that message. They need to have your back.

#4: Honesty

A good writing community is a place where you can be honest, and where others can be honest with you. You can ask questions, even if you feel like they are “stupid” questions, because a good writing community won’t tear you down. They will just honestly answer you.

#5: Forgiveness

A good writing community forgives you when you slip up. They remind you that you can and should forgive yourself. If you fall off the writing wagon, they simply reach out and pull you back on with no judgment. A good writing community honors self-forgiveness.

One of the best things that you can do for your writing is to find (or create) a good writing community. If you’re ready to jump into a community that meets all of these criteria, you might be a good fit for my online writing community, The Academic Women’s Writing Collective. Check it out and join today!

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