This week, I’ve seen the power of community in action as Leena St. Michael reached out to her community and over 200 Activists and people-who-love-Leena signed up to be part of her launch team. The result is that Leena’s book, The Happy Activist, has hit several bestseller lists on Amazon.
It reminded me how powerful it is to do things in community. While writing itself can be a solitary sport (and maybe even not that when we consider the divine guidance that often comes through to help us), so much of the act of creating and sharing a book comes from community.
I see time and again in my book writing programs how people who’ve struggled to write a book for years finally get it done when they commit to it and get the support of a community and a loving, firm guide (yes, that would be me in this instance).
3 Ways to Get Community Support in Writing, Publishing and Promoting a Book
Ask for support from a current community—your women’s or men’s group, a mastermind group or a group of friends.
Join a new group that’s specifically for whatever aspect of book-writing you are entering—writing, publishing or launching.
Create a new group—perhaps at your local library—to support your book writing and publishing journey.
7 Questions to Ask Yourself:
How often do I want to meet? Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly?
How far am I willing to travel (or do I prefer a virtual group—no travel necessary)?
Do I want an expert to guide the process or do I prefer to set up my own process and organize a group? (and do I have time for that?)
What kind of focus am I looking for in the group meetings? Do I want the group to focus on feedback on writing? Do I want to use group time to learn more? Do I want to use group time to brainstorm big picture questions?
Do I have time to read other people’s work between meetings and have them read my work, or would I prefer a class or group where we do not read each other’s work between meetings?
What type of writers do I want to connect with? Similar genres? A variety?
What am I looking to find and create in this community? (encouragement, networking, creative brainstorming, sharing of contacts and connections, a launch team?)
5 Things to Look for (or Set Up) in Your Group
Whether you search for a writing group to join or set up your own. Here are important things to look for:
Look for alignment of commitment: Make sure you all agree on what you’re willing to put in (reading/not reading, etc.). Don’t agree to a group where you know you can’t meet the commitment.
Look for—or create—a group with clear rules and structure. Without that, you may find that one person can hijack a whole meeting, or you just won’t accomplish what you set out to do.
If you are joining a class or mastermind, make sure the group is structured to focus on the challenges you are facing and wish to address.
If you are starting your own group, consider a guest meeting where you can get a sense of the group members and make sure you are all a good fit for each other. I once was part of a writing group where one member spent a good 15 minutes discussing her health issues each time. A one-time guest visit can help you determine whether someone is a match before they join. Be kind and compassionate if they are not, and say it gently.
Consider a group that is writing in the same genre. As you all grow in your writing, you’ll have the most to offer each other. Plus, are more likely able to support each other through platform building, launching and other phases!
Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.