Discover more from All the Fanfare
Introducing ‘My Writing Community’
A fun new way to connect with other writers
Quick note: a significant number of readers of this newsletter are writers who will find unique value in this post. Feel free to read on even if you haven’t written anything since your 5th grade essay about what you did last summer. The invitation below is open to all readers of Fanfare. This is one of the secret projects I’ve been hinting about the last month.
You are probably wondering what “My Writing Community” is. Isn’t that just a fancy word for Medium?
This initiative is the brainchild of Writing Cooperative founder and all-around cool guy Justin Cox. I’m going to turn it over to him shortly for the official explanation. But first, I’m going to introduce it the best way I know how — through gifs and pop culture references.
My Writing Community is basically Voltron.
Right now, every writer has the exact same problem: How do I build an audience? Or as I like to say it: How do I find my people? (For instance, the kind of people who know what Voltron is.) We all approach the problem the same way — posting to socials and hoping somebody will take an interest. They don’t.
Medium provides a better mechanism for this, but it’s mostly one-way communication. And it’s still incredibly hard to rise above the noise. The people that are good at it or just too stubborn to quit eventually build a platform, which just means they have been elevated slightly above the fray and people might actually hear them if they have something to say.
Sticking with our 80s-era cartoon theme, a platform looks something like this:
(My platform looks like a golden lion anyway, I can’t speak to other writers.) Also notice how the writer is perched atop their throne, but utterly alone.
We are all off in our own corners, building our own communities. It’s painfully slow and there’s no guarantee of success. My Writing Community is an attempt to short-circuit this process. It’s built around a simple but powerful premise: We are stronger together.
Here’s an illustration, in case you don’t know what Voltron is. (Since a picture is worth a thousand words, a moving picture must be worth a million, right?)
I feel like I could just drop the mic and walk away at this point, but I’ll let Justin Cox give the official (and much-better) spiel.
Broadcast-focused social media, like Facebook and Twitter, allowed us to explore and embrace our many interests without requiring separate groups. I could talk about writing, nonprofit work, and tv shows on Twitter without jumping between different platforms. However, the problem with broadcast-focused social media platforms is they taught us to crave the validation of faceless strangers. This trend is being quickly rejected across the social media spectrum.
Mastodon’s explosion highlights that people crave a social connection that isn’t driven by algorithms. While Mastodon is great, there’s room for something more — something that connects people around a common interest but acknowledges that it isn’t the sum of their interests or identity.
The social media pendulum is swinging back towards smaller communities and groups rather than anonymous audiences. A place where people are more than anonymous faces in a sea of digital people. A place where a common interest unites but doesn’t prohibit additional discussions.
Which brings us to Voltron. I mean, My Writing Community.
What is My Writing Community?
My Writing Community is a Discord server purpose-built for writers by writers. Our hope is that it becomes a digital community, a place to talk about writing and also have the space to explore other things we’re interested in. Stuff like what we’re reading, watching, and creating. We can even talk about food! Everybody loves eating, right?
Each Community Leader also has exclusive channels for their supporters. In my channel, we can chat about pop culture nerdity to our heart’s content without chasing any of the normies away. We can also chat about anything you fine people are curious about. Consider it an all-access pass.
Being built on Discord provides the potential for future opportunities. For example, we might host live chats and interviews available exclusively within My Writing Community. Or we might have a class that shows how to compile your Medium essays into a Kindle eBook. Maybe I can finally do that dramatic reading of “the Charge of the Rohirrim” I’ve always wanted to do.
The Whys and Hows of My Writing Community
In other words: Why you should care, and how you can engage.
Hopefully the why is already a bit self-evident. Writing is a lonely business. As Justin outlined above, we are building a place where writers can network with other writers. The idea isn’t that this is a place to just spam articles as though it was another Facebook group. But if you give a little — time, attention, feedback — you’ll get it in return.
Before we get into how to engage with My Writing Community (seriously Justin, Voltron would be so much easier to say), I think I see someone with a hand up in the back. Yes sir? You have a question?
Isn’t a Discord a disagreement? I thought this was supposed to be a good thing…
For those that don’t know Discord from disco — Discord is basically a newer, much better version of web forums. At its most basic level, people can post comments and ask questions. Discord can do much more than that — including integrated gif posting which, if you can’t already tell, is super important to me — but that’s the gist. You can access Discord via your web browser or through a mobile app. Justin wrote a handy guide to help new users find their way.
Engaging with My Writing Community
How you engage with My Writing Community will be informed by your own interests, and will probably change over time. But here’s a few ways we think this community will be beneficial to everyone:
trading feedback on drafts
discussing Medium — do’s and don’ts, good publications to submit to, writers to follow, etc
requesting sensitivity readers
asking for help with titles (good titles are so hard but so important)
looking for people with specific life experience or skills
sharing freelance best practices and advice
commiserating with other writers (no one else truly gets it)
chatting about general stuff: movies, books, cats
Chatting is last on the list because it’s the ‘softest’ benefit, but it’s probably the most important one. People will be genuinely interested in seeing you succeed when they care about you as a person. That starts with seemingly inane conversations about The Crown or why you think bacon is the best pizza topping.
As an added bonus, we’re running a book club to celebrate the launch. For our inaugural book club, Gretchen Alice, our resident librarian and book sommelier, has selected The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. We’ll start a discussion on Feb 16th, culminating with a live group call on March 2nd.
We pre-launched a few weeks ago with just a handful of friends, to test the idea and work out the kinks. Checking in with My Writing Community has already become one of my favorite parts of the day.
Who’s behind My Writing Community?
My Writing Community is built and supported by a team of super amazing people and one dorky guy who talks too much about Star Wars. We’ve all been working together for the past month to create a place that fulfills the goals Justin outlined above.
Meet the Community Leaders:
We should already be on a first-name basis here, but on the off-chance you are reading this and still have no clue who I am…
Eric Pierce is a Michigan-based writer, gamer, and pop culture nerd. He runs Fanfare, Medium’s largest pop culture publication, and he freelances for some of the biggest names in entertainment. His Substack is the best one you’ve never heard of.
Gretchen Alice is a writer, librarian, and breakfast taco enthusiast living in Austin, Texas. She loves stories as much as she loves food and is passionate about sharing both with the world. You can follow along with her Eating/Reading journey on Instagram.
Founder of The Writing Cooperative and author of Write Now, Justin has been supporting and encouraging writers online for years. He’s also a nonprofit expert and aids organizations with fundraising and strategic development.
Sinem is a Medium writer with millions of views on her stories and the founder of a community with over 10k Medium writers. Inside her Medium Writing Academy, she helped hundreds of writers to start writing online and grow their audience.
Zulie is a content creator, blogger, vlogger, and cat mom who helps writers grow their blogging empire. She has helped thousands of people make money writing about what they love. You can find her work at zuliewrites.com, zulie.medium.com, and youtube.com/@zuliewrites.
My Writing Community is invite-only. Invitations are available from each Community Leader. The invites will also provide access to those creator-exclusive channels I mentioned earlier.
Subscribers to Fanfare get in the door for free! Check your email for the invitation.
Score an invite to the hottest writing community in town when you join my free newsletter!
I’ve been looking for a way to connect with fellow writers in a meaningful way since I started writing. This community will be a chance to discuss our work and other interests. Not to be all like, “the real treasure is the friends we made along the way,” but actually, yes — I want to make friends!
Come hang out and let’s help each other grow as writers. As an added bonus when you subscribe, I publish exclusive stuff to my Substack that I think you’ll totally dig, like this number. ⬇️ Again, totally free.
I’m starting to feel like an infomercial now. (But wait, there’s more! Operators standing by!) If you have any questions or suggestions, drop a comment and I’ll respond. Have a magical day!