When I first started out writing, it was a primarily solitary pursuit. I mean, I had just moved to a tiny town on the eastern edge of Colorado. There aren't writers' groups here. Heck, I'm surprised when I find out some of these people like to read. The biggest topic of conversation is the weather and how much moisture we have or haven't gotten.
About four months into being here, I started to use my internet access for something more than just playing online poker. I joined an online writer group. Boy was that ever a flop. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing. I did not choose wisely. Those people seemed nice at first, but after a while their true colors showed. They were just spiders waiting for unsuspecting newbies to fall into their web. Bleh.
So I gave up and crawled back into my writing cave. I didn't need those people. Like I - and many others - have said 'writing is a solitary pursuit'. Fine. I could deal with that.
Except I was kinda lonely. I love my family and they're very supportive, but they just don't get this whole writing thing.
So I tried again.
This time I did research. I found a widely popular forum site where the majority of the people seemed sane. I lurked around until I could see who the major players were and who to stay away from. Then I dipped my toe in the pond. For the most part, the people were nice. And they were helpful. Then something happened that pissed me off and I walked away.
At this point, I knew there were still good people out there. Finding them was the issue. That's when I started my first blog. I had hoped some of the friends from that forum would follow me. They didn't. In the end, though, that was okay, because I found new friends. They visited my blog and I visited theirs. I'd finally found a neighborhood where I could be comfortable.
Eventually, my blog led to a different blog that was more ME, and another blog just for my writing. I branched out and did some things that weren't just for myself - but also for other writers like me. I found friends - following some people I met on other blogs and some people finding me the same way.
I still don't have a ton of writing friends - and none that I've actually met in person - but the ones I do have are golden. And despite doing things a slightly different way than other writers, I have a network of support amongst writers all over the continent.
How have you found friends online? Do you have any writing friends in real life or are you like me and stick strictly to the electronic?