A Writer’s Life: Building Community

A version of my truth is that I became a published author before I did what most people do, which is spend time in community with other writers, sharing early work, taking classes and workshops, applying for residencies, and learning to perfect the craft prior to embarking on the big formal adventure. So that’s what I am doing this summer. Writing can be a lonely art, but it doesn’t have to be. Finding other people on a similar path is comforting. Hearing about the experiences of people a few steps ahead of you is reassuring. Learning from other’s mistakes is always a good idea. When I tell people, I am writing books, they often reply, “I’ve always wanted to do that!” I say go for it. The more the merrier. Here are a few resources I am finding very helpful and maybe even more importantly, a lot of fun.


If you haven’t registered for a Submittable account, what are you waiting for? There are SO MANY opportunities listed every day, and it’s a good way to learn about smaller or online only journals and contests.

The First Draft Podcast  is a weekly podcast where writers share how their art informs their lives. There are over 300 episodes dedicated to inspiring and educating authors about the world of traditional publishing. I heard it is headed for hiatus due to the host receiving other opportunities, but so many of the conversations are worth going back for a listen. The journey, the struggle, and the triumph are all captured in these insightful episodes. Joining the Patreon gives members access to a private community and monthly talks.


Join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the only professional organization specifically for individuals who write, illustrate, and translate for children and young adults. Through our awards, events, and publications, they give established writers, illustrators, and translators the tools and resources to manage their careers, as well as educate those just starting out. The cost is $95 the first year and $80 after. I’ve gotten great access to publishing opportunities, workshops, webinars, and conferences.

Check out online classes and writing retreats through The Highlights Foundation and The Writing Barn. The Writing Barn has a physical space in Austin, Texas, and The Highlights Foundation has a beautiful retreat center in Pennsylvania. I hope to visit both some day, but in the meantime, I have been taking online workshops on topics like writing short stories and the craft of verse novels. Both offer scholarships too!


Start following the Anaphora Arts Foundation. Based in LA, they host conferences, pitch fests, retreats and a 10 day summer residency to which I was recently accepted. Anaphora seeks to: “provide opportunities for emerging and established writers and artists of color through innovative and interdisciplinary programming; promote their work to the general public; and serve as a resource and learning center to research, develop and implement equitable practices in the literary arts field. Additionally, Anaphora is committed to preserve, promote and disseminate the works of traditionally marginalized writers and artists through outreach, advocacy, and educational projects. “


Midnight & Indigo has been a delicious find as a Black woman. They publish a wonderful literary journal a few times a year and accept submissions. Some issues focused on speculative fiction. They also host writing classes that are perfect for those who are just starting out. The teachers have been warm and welcoming and so many beautiful faces show up ready to support one another.

The Hurston/Wright Foundation aims to discover, mentor and honor Black writers. I am participating in their virtual writer’s weekend retreat over the Juneteenth weekend, and I cannot think of a more liberatory way to celebrate. Next year, I hope to attend one of their weeklong in person retreats.

They also have a podcast and Youtube Channel called the Black Writer’s Studio

What has been the most helpful resource you’ve found as a writer? Feel free to share in the comments!