When you make your living as a freelance writer, it’s important to know where you can find fellow writers in your community. Whether you want to network with like-minded individuals or enjoy brainstorming and sharing ideas with others who know your craft, finding a local writing tribe can be instrumental in professional success.
I’ve been making a living as a freelance writer for more than seven years. And while many of the publications I’ve written for are national, a fair amount of my clients and steady writing work stemmed from the city in which I resided.
When I moved from San Diego, CA to Terre Haute, IN last year, one of the first things I did was start looking for writing opportunities. To do that, I started in the most logical place – where local writers “hang out” (both physically and virtually). I was able to find local writing communities, as well as meet other freelancers and people who worked for local publications. I am now writing regularly for two well-known city magazines and have also published in a local parenting website and have found local client work as well.
If you recently moved to a new city – or are faced with relocating in the near future –here are a seven strategies to help you find your writing tribe.
1. The local library or community center
One of the best places to start your search for fellow writers is at the local library. Check the library’s monthly bulletin or calendar to see if the library hosts a writer’s group and then put the date on your calendar. Don’t forget community centers as they often host community creative arts programming as well.
2. Read the local magazine and newspaper
Learning as much as you can about your new community and business scene is helpful even if you’re not a writer. Reading local magazines and newspapers will also help you learn who the writers and editors are for the publications. If you see a particular story or writer who stands out to you, send that person and email introduction or tweet and let them know you enjoyed their story. If you’re interested in writing for the publication, send an email introduction to the editor with a link to your website or LinkedIn profile, and a few clips of your work.
3. Facebook groups
Online networking is just as important as what you do offline. Don’t underestimate the social media giant when it comes to finding your tribe. Use Facebook’s Group search tool to locate writing groups in your city, and then join and introduce yourself to the members. And don’t stop there. Make a point to return to the Group page once or twice a week to share resources and ask questions.
The more people see your name, the more they’ll remember you when it comes to work down the road.
Speaking of social media, be sure to update your new city location to all your social media profiles. And post a Facebook and LinkedIn status update that says, “I’m looking for writers and writing groups in my new city of XXX.” You may be surprised at the connections you have.
4. College and universities
Many colleges have writing extension programs that are open to community members. See what your local universities offer, and sign up for a class or inquire about writing groups for the class members. Other areas that may offer clubs or meetings for writers are departments of creative writing, English and journalism.
5. Attend a Chamber of Commerce meeting
Chamber meetings and mixers aren’t just for brick and mortar businesses. Attend a local event and introduce yourself to marketing practitioners and business owners. Those people can introduce you to local writers, and you may end up with potential clients.
This online service is often forgotten about when it comes to finding groups in your city. Type your city name into Meetup and search for “writer’s groups” to see what may exist.
7. Parenting Groups
Online (and offline) parenting communities are great places to make connections, especially if you are a parent or you’re interested in writing in the parenting space. Even if your city does not have specific parenting publications, you may find mom/dad bloggers who can help you make local connections.
Don’t let the fact that you’re the new kid in town deter you from writing. Start with one or two of the ideas above, and see where they lead. Chances are you’ll find several wordsmiths in your new city who will welcome you into their tribe.