Wednesday, May 4, 2016

4 Reasons to Write in Community

When I started writing, I didn't know much. I quickly learned a lot because I became plugged in to the writing community that is American Christian Fiction Writers. Today as a multi-published author, I am still involved in many writing communities including this one, Inspired by Life & Fiction, The Grove Story, and ACFW.

In each I play a different role. 

I believe it's important for all writers to have at least a few places to plug in. Here are four reasons you should consider doing just that.
1) To give back: I joined ACFW as a writer who knew next to nothing about writing. Today, almost exactly ten years later, I'm in a very different position in my publishing career, but one thing hasn't changed: I am an active member. Why? Because I believe ACFW is the best place for someone who wants to write Christian fiction to learn how to write, learn about publishing, meet editors, agents and other writers, and find a community of people who think like them. Writing is so solitary that community is a God-send. I still make it a priority to get to the ACFW national conference every year. I can't imagine my September without the worship, fellowship, encouragement, and learning. It's been an essential part of me becoming the writer I am.

2) To Mentor Other Writers as I've been Mentored. I don't mean this to sound high and might or anything, but I do believe it's very important -- even Biblical -- to be sure I am pouring what I've learned into writers who are at an earlier stage in their journey. I periodically ask God where He wants me to pour at this season. Right now that's here on the Alley. Yeah! I love these ladies and our readers. But sometimes it's even more one on one with folks like Casey, Ashley, and Pepper. Those may change in the seasons of our writing. But I am firmly convinced that I wouldn't be the writer I am without the mentors God has give me like Colleen Coble, Rachel Hauck, and others. Giving back is key to who I am.

3) To Find Community with Other Writers Who Understand the Challenges of Writing. I vividly remember being extremely humbled when Melissa Tagg took a mentor appointment with me. This fiery, talented young woman already had one book out and another on the way. What could I offer her? As I prayed about it, God reminded me of the importance of having community with people on the same road. We may be in different stages, but we're all in the midst of this crazy business of writing. That's how The Grove gals came to be. This group is a special set of women that are heart sisters to me. Their passion for Jesus challenges me. And we encourage, cheerlead, and love on each other in ways that bring such joy to the journey. I hope you'll join us there. 

4) To Support Each Other in the Writing: I'm in two other groups including Inspired by Life & Fiction where we've come together to share our markets and build each other and our readers up. It is such a fun group of women (and truly an honor to be with them!). Another group is for marketing. We help promote each others books -- it is a hoot to spread the word about authors that I already adore reading. Now it's just more intentional.

These are a few of the ways I band together with other writers. How do you do it?


An award-winning author of twenty books, Cara is a lecturer on business and employment law to graduate students at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Putman also practices law and is a second-generation homeschooling mom. She lives with her husband and four children in Indiana.

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