There are a lot of things which can be listed as benefits about the writer gig such as significant amounts of alone time, the ability to creatively eliminate annoyances via fictional avenues, and so many opportunities for unique research.

What’s not often touted as a benefit, but should be, is the opportunity to connect to a group of people a writer might never have otherwise encountered. Readers, sure, but being able to talk to other writers? That’s the Golden Ring prize. Marking a resonance that snaps into being between two disparate individuals whose sole point of convergence is an ability to take imagination and give it a voice? That is pretty special.

I love when I meet a fellow writer and we can immediately feel a level of validation, because we just know the other person gets “it” – whatever it is we’re attempting to communication. The frustration when a character won’t behave? BAM, got it. The excitement when a story takes on a life of its own, and you know you’re simply the conduit? BAM, got it.

People talk about finding their tribe and surrounding themselves with like-minded people. Biking or hiking enthusiasts, followers of sports teams–their tribe is easily defined, and located, and the process is repeatable no matter the geographic location. Writers? It’s slightly different, because how do you tell someone’s a writer just from looking at them? Just from talking to them? More, how do you know they’re a writer who will matter to you? You can engage them online, observe their comportment in public at events, and interview those already in their circle.

Or, you could READ them.

We might not write everything from personal experience, but writers imbue our stories with so much that is in us, ravening to break out, readers learn more about us with every story. Do the same when building your tribe.

Read your heros, and in that way you learn to speak their language like a native. #BeAReader