Blogger: Rachel Kent
Location: Books & Such main office; Santa Rosa, Calif.
Another huge benefit for writers from the advancing technology is the ability to connect with other writers through online writers’ groups: ACFW, RWA, The Writer’s View and many more. These groups can provide so much for writers. Not only can you find critique groups and get almost-instant writing advice, but they are also places for a writer to find community. Writing is a lonely job. Some writers really enjoy the time away from family and the distractions of life, but it can become tiresome to sit alone in an office in front of a computer screen working toward a word-count goal.
Before the internet, writers would have to mail a manuscript to an editor to get feedback or personally take the manuscript to an editor nearby. My great-aunt was an aspiring author, and I have a manuscript of hers and a pile of stamped letters with feedback from editors, who rejected the manuscript for publication. It’s interesting to think that the editors probably had quite a lot less to do because submissions wouldn’t come in at such a rapid rate, and that’s why they spent the time on my great-aunt’s book and gave her some in-depth feedback. Books at that time were typewritten, so I assume less people were writing because it was such a process. (That’s one negative for writers caused by advancing technology: The competition has become greater because it’s much easier to write a book.) My great-aunt had no way to get instant feedback. It’s almost impossible for me to imagine such a thing because I have spent most of my life with access to the internet.
You all have an opportunity to connect online with writers. This is a gift and something to take advantage of. Perhaps if my great-aunt had had the opportunity to be a member of ACFW (or a similar group) she would have been published. I believe she would have at least had a greater chance.
How have online groups helped you in your writing career? Have you had any problems with them? I have heard that they can take up a lot of time, too. Have you had this problem?