500 Writers Came Together for This

Last week something unexpected happened, I’m still trying to process it. I announced a weeklong free program I was going to run called Social Media for Writers. I invited people into a Facebook Group that I had used for a different program back in the Fall, there were 203 writers in there from that time.

Last Friday, the group quickly grew to 250 writers. Then 300. Then 350. Then 400. Right now there are 536 writers in there.

That blew me away.

You see, I’ve been doing this work full-time for nearly nine years. My days are spent in the trenches with writers who want to double-down on their creative vision and ensure it reaches an audience.

In that time, I have:

  • Sent out 400+ newsletters.
  • Run more than 14 mastermind groups.
  • Worked with hundreds of private clients.
  • Taught thousands of writers in online courses, webinars, and workshops.
  • Wrote and published a book.
  • Published more than 50 podcast episodes.
  • Spoken at dozens of conferences and events, and run a few of my own.

Yet, you never know what will work — what will resonate. This past week, I had the privilege of engaging with these 500+ writers. They were from all corners of the world: Dublin, Ireland; Albany, New York; Pismo Beach, California; Auburn, Alabama; the mountains of North Georgia; the Cooloola Coast in Queensland; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Wellington, New Zealand, and hundreds of other places.

I spent time on typing each of these places into the map to see what they look like, and to consider what it means that all of these individual writers in these unique locations have come together with me in this group.

And this relates to something I have been thinking a lot about in terms of how writers should consider social media, author platform, marketing, and book launches. The information alone is not what brings people together. It is how we connect that matters just as much.

Each day last week, I recorded a video from my studio in New Jersey, welcoming everyone into this space, a 12×10 room. In return, they shared their challenges, their goals, and lots of conversations sprung up.

I shared my philosophy for how writers should approach social media in four videos, each about 12 minutes long, and today I shared more than 30 minutes of video where I answered questions.

What I heard in their questions illustrates why we write, and why that writing is complete when it connects with another human being. People asked:

  1. How can their voice be heard when it seems so many others are talking?
  2. How can they find readers who would resonate with what that author writes?
  3. How can a single person balance creating and sharing?
  4. How can we go deeper — to meaningful conversations and connections — not just shallow “likes” and “follows.”

The context of theses questions — social media — is a modern context for questions that people have considered for years, centuries even.

This week, it was a pleasure to engage with these writers to help them find answers that feel right for each of them. For the 536 people in the group, there are 536 unique and personalized answers.

That is both the opportunity we each have as writers, and of course, the challenge.

For the past six months, I have been completely rethinking not just how I view social media in terms of how it can connect you to readers, but how it is a part of a bigger process of engaging readers.

Next week I’m going to unveil that system. This is partly the culmination of years of working with writers, and partly a new vision that I have been challenging myself to fully flesh out. When I started, this is what it looked like in my mind:

… and the work of the last six months has been to make it simple. More on that next week.

In the meantime, if you were curious about the free Social Media for Writers program, but hadn’t joined yet, you can still do so by joining this group. Once you get in, click on the “announcements” tab and you will see the four main videos, plus all the Q&A videos.