Tuesday, March 8, 2022

3 Reasons Why Writers Need Good Writing Friends

by Cindy K. Sproles @CindyDevoted

The wonderful thing about attending writing conferences is making friends. It's a little intimidating when we attend, especially as a first-timer. There are little to no other conferees that we know, and that means we shrink just a little. We may even wonder where that confidence went we had before we left home. Let's be honest. It's a little scary. This is why peers are essential. 

3 Reasons to Establish Your Writing Community

1. Make a friend: When you walk into the conference, your priority is to make a friend. Sit next to someone and start up a conversation. I know—writers are introverts, and most of us struggle with those initial conversations. Carry mints or gum, pens, something you can say, "Would you like a _________?" The conversation will go forward from that icebreaker. 

At my first Blue Ridge conference, I sat by the big windows in Pritchel. My arms were covered in poison ivy and wrapped in white gauze. It was all I could do to not scratch. I looked like a zombie. Who in their right mind would even want to stand close to someone who looked like they'd played a role in The Walking Dead? To my surprise, a lovely young woman sat down across from me. She crossed her arms and sweetly smiled. Then she said, "I heard folks were itching to get here." 

I burst into laughter, and that was it. We became friends. The two of us hung out together, added a couple of others, and before you know it, we bonded. We became critique buddies and encouragers. A few years later, that sweet friend became a Christy Award nominee, and she invited me along to share in the festivities. We are still friends. The point is, make friends, and you will sustain one another through the years.

2. Accountability: Your peers keep you accountable in your work. By that, I mean they keep you working. These accountability peers are great if they are writers because they learn the craft along with you. They get those highs and lows we experience as writers, and they cheer us on. But let's not forget those non-writers who serve to support us and keep us accountable.

I have a wonderful friend who is an avid reader. Even though she loves me, she is sincere. When I begin a novel, she is the person I fire the chapters to as a reader. Her perspective keeps my story in line with what a reader expects and loves to read. As I am currently working on a novel due in June to the publisher, she asks weekly, "How's Minerva? I'm waiting!" I love this because her forcing my accountability keeps me working when I get lazy or stuck. 

She is wonderful to tell me she needs more information or she thinks a scene was a little drab. However, she is not the person I contact before I send out a manuscript. She is strictly a reader, not an editor, and she's not a family member. It's important to remember that family members love us—even if our work is a little smelly, they'll tell us it's wonderful. Don't fall into that trap. Find those accountability buddies, both in the writing world and outside who will love you but remain honest. You need them to keep you moving forward.

3. Peer Mentors: Sounds like an accountability partner, but it's not. Everyone needs that one person who can see the bigger picture. This is the person who is excellent at writing mechanics or super at content dissection. They are that one person you can call and brainstorm through a rough spot. 

A few months back, I hit a snag in my novel. I was asked to remove a prop from my story. It didn't seem like a big deal since this was not the basis of the story UNTIL every time I removed the prop and replaced it with something else, I had to rewrite the story to make the new prop fit. What started as a simple change rolled into a monster. I lost sight of the story, and what I was trying to accomplish, so I called my friend, Lori. She's a dear writing friend and will serve as that mentor when necessary. She read through, came back, and we spent a couple of hours brainstorming. Boom. We found the fix. It just took new eyes to see through the fog. 

A writing mentor/friend is that person with enough truth and vision to help you revise if necessary. It's a person you trust in their knowledge and ability as a writer to know they "know what they are talking about." When you enlist their help, they don't push their ideas on you. Instead, they work through the snag with you. This partnership can make all the difference when you are on a deadline. Seek out that mentor friend and use their ability. They will come to you when the time comes to return the favor. Writing becomes so much fun when you can sit down with another creative and brainstorm.

Finally, we know that writers just "get" writers. We understand the isolation, the thought process, the need to spin a creative idea. Begin early in your writing career to find these people and put them in place. Some will remain by your side forever while others move in a different direction. When that happens, rejoice in the time and work you shared together. Remain fast friends but give your blessing over their work as they move in a new direction. The point is to discover these individuals who will be your writing peers. You will be surprised how the quality of your writing will improve and how quickly you will grow. The community—a writing necessity.


Cindy K. Sproles is an author, speaker, and conference teacher. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries and the executive editor for www.christiandevotions.us and www.inspireafire.com. Cindy is the lead managing editor for SonRise Devotionals and also Straight Street Books, both imprints of LPC/Iron Stream Media Publications. She is a mentor with Write Right and the director of the Asheville Christian Writers Conference held each February at the Billy Graham Training Center, the Cove, Asheville, NC. Cindy is a best selling, award winning novelist. Visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com.


  1. Cindy; This is such a wonderful way to start my day -- with a reminder of how valuable our writing friends are in our lives. I'm counting my blessings right now, recognizing how enriched my life is because of the friends I've met along the writing road.

    1. I miss seeing my writing friends daily. Thank goodness for tge smartphone.

  2. Thank you for this, Cindy! My writer friends are so important to me. Some of them I haven't even met in person, but we have bonded virtually and are as close as can be. Whether I have met them in person or not, we support, encourage, and cheer for one another. Writing can get lonely, and we were not meant to do life alone.

    1. I really miss my writing friends. The soooo get me.

  3. I'd be lost without my writing friends. The incredible spiritual, personal, and professional support can't be found anywhere else!

  4. I love my writer friends. Their encouragement and inspiration are blessings from God. :-)

  5. Cindy, Thanks for this reminder. One of the great surprises I've had in this writing journey is the number of wonderful new friends I've found. My writing buddies and I are often on the same wave length, grappling with similar writing issues, and rejoicing in each other's successes.

  6. It helps to have these folks to rely on.