27 Comments

How I wish I'd read this post when it came out! Because not only would my writer friends love it (two groups, one from a class and one from another writer friend connection, and they mean pretty much everything to me) but because you were in Montreal. Literally two minutes from my house at Mon Lapin, and ten minutes away at Drawn and Quarterly. I MISSED YOU. I am crying. Please come back .

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Gorgeous! I love this one. I'd be lost without my writer friends. The shorthand, the vulnerability, but also the chance to fully nerd out about all things books; turn each other on with a new favorite; or just support each other with text chains. We spend so much time in our minds, and they get that. They're like this protective circle, in a way, that's always open for new members. Thanks for this community where I've made several more writer friends! You can never have too many. :)

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Aug 2, 2023Liked by Jami Attenberg

I appreciate this post so much because it addresses the isolation of the early years of writing and parenting young children. To have discipline with young children and writing feels like a task on its own, this community has started to make me feel less lonely!

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I think Substack is a good platform for making new writerly friends - it's surpassed other social media platforms for me. Also, I find that now we're used to Zooming around we have more opportunity to set up small groups of like-minded writers to meet and chat regularly. It's never been easier really, although it is still difficult to find a group that fits your needs exactly. Thanks for raising this, Jami. It's actually quite important.

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Never thought about this question before. You’ve got me mulling, stroking my chin. Good stuff.

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Writers live and work in isolation, by the nature of our craft, and the community is super important to keep sane, creative, and supported, imho. Thank you for sharing the process in this post. I'm lucky to be very engaged with two online writing communities, The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and Grub Street in Boston, where I've taught for over two decades, combined. They are vibrant centers of all things writing--and they have fed my need to be in writerly community and have writer friends. I met my writing group of four and my writing partner in similar places, online classes and conferences. I don't know what I'd do without these folks. And my book, which is launching in October, will be celebrated at the Loft with many of my former students (and writing friends) attending. I couldn't be happier. So very important to find and nurture this part of our creative lives.

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Aug 1, 2023Liked by Jami Attenberg

I appreciate this post so much because I’ve been grappling with how to connect with other writers for years now. A lot of it comes from the fear that I’m not enough of a writer to connect with other writers, but I’m working on changing my perspective. Loved what Paul said about living through the humiliations…such is life. Brilliant.

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Aug 1, 2023Liked by Jami Attenberg

that shorthand amongst writer friends, yes!—so important. my closest ones are from my MFA program and various residencies and conferences. but if you can't access those, then go to literary events/readings. and weirdly, in the last two years, i've actually made writing friends thru twitter! that platform is dying, but if you connect w/ people on other apps (i also made a friend thru FB), and you see they might be passing thru your town, offer to meet up (that's what i did). i truly never thought i'd make friends that way, but it's been a wonderful surprise.

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Great article. I’ve had some incredible writer friends and have known some who were really bad people… it’s generally a crap shoot because writers are only people but it sure is great when the chemistry is right…

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Aug 1, 2023Liked by Jami Attenberg

This weekend was one year since I met my first good writing friend while in line for a book signing at the Writers Digest conference in New York. Since then we have attended other conferences and started writing groups together. I would not have understood how key a writing friend could be without having found a great one myself!

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Writers workshops. Especially the away kind that last a week.

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Aug 1, 2023Liked by Jami Attenberg

Well this was timely. I just flat out stated I did not really have any writerly friends. I have friends who support me, but we do not talk “shop”. One of my goals is to get to a writers conference event/ make start a local group so next time #1000wordsofsummer hits we can have a little get together.

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This is was beautiful: "Writer friends are different than other kinds of friends. That truth I treasure. How do you meet them? I can’t tell you how to, I can only tell you that they’re there. You just have to keep trying. And if you’re lucky, you get to meet someone like Claire."

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Writer friends intuitively open their arms for you to share at precisely the moments when you are most scared to do so. They may critique, but they don't criticize. And then you get that welcome email that says "Hey, would you mind having a look at this?"

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“There’s a shorthand of the shared experience.” So true! Enjoy Montreal!

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Aug 1, 2023Liked by Jami Attenberg

This is so on my mind right now! I just got back from a writing conference in Pittsburgh, Chatham’s summer community of writers, and I’m seeking ways to replicate the connections we had. Reaching out to old writer friends is one route but I’m exploring more!

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