A few days ago, I just joined Facebook. I had heard about it, of course, because my son is totally enthralled by it. He gets fish slammed, super poked, written on a wall, and all the other interesting scenarios, of which I had NO IDEA what was happening! But I am a part of a hiking forum with my other interest - hiking, and they mentioned creating a group on Facebook. So to be a part, one must also join this social community. I discovered that plenty of fellow writers hang out there, too. I have since been building my friend base and also finding out their interests, what they are up to on a day by day basis, articles and books they have read, blogs they maintain, etc. And I have found out what it means to have something written on your wall. Haven't gotten poked yet, but I'm sure that will come eventually. But it's a great way to stay in touch with others in this wide and often lonely realm of writing. A Christian network, Shoutlife, also provides a way to interact with others. You can reach many with your writing by posting blogs and bulletins, along with advertising books you have written on your profile page.
Another paid online group I belong to is American Christian Fiction Writers. In fact they are having their big annual conference in Minneapolis this week. I have been fortunate to attend in the past, but this year, with my interest in non fiction writing, I opted for the conference in Philadelphia to help me learn in that area. But conferences are another great way to match names with faces and get to know others. I met some lovely women at the Philadelphia conference and hope to stay in touch with them as we navigate the unpredictable waters of writing and publishing. But I have found with a big group like ACFW online, I learn much more about the members through the prayer list. There, writers share about their lives, their trials and tribulations, their praises and other things. And lift each other up when the going gets rough.
Online communities are great ways to push back the books and the writing and connect with fellow authors underneath it all - the people in other states or other parts of the world, to connect in new and exciting ways. It certainly makes the path of writing much less of a lonely road to travel.