Finding the Blogger Next Door

Finding the Blogger Next Door by @GretLouise on #Allume Do you love your blogging friends but often find yourself wishing they lived next door? What if you could have a conversation with a fellow author at Farmer’s Market each week? What if you could invite a blogging buddy over for a tutorial in WordPress and widgets? What if you could call a friend in the same time zone when you find out that you’ve placed in a writing contest? What if you could sit down to coffee with someone who understands your need to write?

There are limitless blogs I could read, innumerable people I could follow online, but I can’t develop relationships with them all. If I want to go deep, not wide, I need to be intentional in some of my networking. As much as I love my blogging friends the world over, I’m trying to seek out the writers who are close enough to drop by for a cup of coffee or carpool to a writing conference. Writers tend to be introverted.

Sometimes, it’s easier to bare your heart online and then turn off the computer and live life. But what if we lived life with our writer friends offline as well as online? What if we got together with friends once in a while for a Five Minute Friday party? (Because we all know five minutes of writing is about all that would happen when writers are actually in the same room, no matter how introverted they might be!)

Maybe she doesn’t blog about the same things you do, or follow the same people on Twitter. You might be twenty years apart in age, but she’s not like every other woman at your church—you have more than Jesus and your location in common—you both love to write! Reach out to her. She might be that mentor you need to improve your writing, or you might be her ride to the next writer’s conference. Just because you don’t want to advertise where you live in your Twitter profile or invite everyone over for an apple cider pressing (though I have a friend who did just that!), that shouldn’t stop you from finding kindred spirits nearby.

In this age of social media, we’re (rightly) concerned about our privacy. But in being careful not to reveal too much personal information, we’ve lost the ability to connect with fellow writers who live practically next door. Local networking might be harder than online interest networking, but the rewards can be a lot longer lasting than blog comments and followers. Remember, Local Writing Groups are different than Mastermind Groups. Mastermind Groups demand some similarity in blogging audience and focus (so you can give input on and promote each other’s posts) but enable diversity in location. Local Writing Groups likely will include a diverse crowd of writers, each at different spots in writing venues and responsibilities, accomplishments and aspirations, but united by their locale, their love of writing, and—hopefully—their trust in Jesus. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Search Google and Facebook for writing groups and conferences in your area.
  • Create or use local hashtags in your Tweets.
  • Have a Twitter party!
  • Start a private Facebook group for those in your state or region. Keep it a focused area (within driving distance) without letting it get too big (i.e. west coasters might be able to specify a whole state while those on the east coast might find hundreds of fellow bloggers in one city).
  • Create a private Twitter list for the bloggers you’ve discovered in your area, so you can interact with them more closely.
  • Schedule a regional meet-up at a blogging conference.

How have you been able to connect with local writers and fellow bloggers?

Gretchen Louise

Gretchen Louise is a farmer’s wife and mommy to three curly-haired children. When she’s not working in the family business, hanging out laundry, or washing dishes, she writes in CSS, HTML, PHP—and English. You'll also find her blogging about inner beauty and outward adornment at Adornabelle, as well as managing the community over at Kindred Grace.

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  • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ KIM HALL

    I laughed when I read that for those on the East Coast (me), we’d have hundreds of bloggers in our city. I’m looking out my window at part of the fifty acres I currently call home, knowing I am 45 minutes from a town of any size, and 2 hours north of Boston. I would have assumed the exact opposite, that the West Coast bloggers would have an easier time of finding fellow bloggers close by.

    I do agree that I would love to find local (NH/VT/MA) bloggers to meet with occasionally. While friends and family are supportive, no one understands what I do and where I’d like to be like another writer/blogger!

    Your ideas are good ones. Something I have been thinking about is creating a group on Meetup.com. However, my plate overflows at the moment without adding one more thing…

    • MICHELE-LYN

      Kim,

      Living on property in the country — it’s a different world, isn’t it? I live on 30 acres and it takes us 45 minutes to get anywhere. It’s a worthy price to pay for such beauty, though :)

      • http://gretchenlouise.com/ GRETCHEN LOUISE

        And it gives us lots of peace and quiet and beauty in which to write, right? :)

    • http://gretchenlouise.com/ GRETCHEN LOUISE

      LOL, “might” was the operative word there, wasn’t it? I happen to be from a part of the West Coast where I’m out in the middle of nowhere…but obviously many of my fellow West Coaster Christian Bloggers (#WCCBloggers) in Southern California are in/near big cities that you and I aren’t. :)

  • http://twitter.com/kalynbr00ke KALYNBROOKE

    I’m so lucky to have found another blogger right in my town. We’ve become great friends and its refreshing to talk to someone who understands blogging!

    • http://gretchenlouise.com/ GRETCHEN LOUISE

      So thankful you have that opportunity, Kalyn! :)

  • PAULA

    One way I met some local bloggers was through incourage’s (in) Real Life Conference. It is basically an at home conference/party where you invite local people into your home. It is an opportunity to build community right where you live and getting to know those you connect with through the internet. http://www.incourage.me/inrl-countdown

    • http://gretchenlouise.com/ GRETCHEN LOUISE

      Great idea–I want to try to host one this year!

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  • SIMPLYDARLENE

    Ah! My in real life friend, miss G!!

    You obviously already know this Gretchen, but I’m gonna share… miss G & met a tad over one year ago. My family was new in the community and had just met her extended family at a farmer’s market. Anyway, the two of us met a family event, didn’t say much to one another, but somehow figured out that we blog. The next time we saw one another, it was like, “Hey, I thought you looked familiar to me!” We already “knew” each other online. :-)

    And “neighbor” to us means about 22 miles apart, aye?

    Blessings.

    • http://gretchenlouise.com/ GRETCHEN LOUISE

      You know, I can’t remember how we figured out we both blogged. But I’m so glad we did, “Neighbor.” :)

  • http://profiles.google.com/jenannelambert JENNIFER LAMBERT

    Love this! So honored to chat with Trina on the phone before the holidays. And then the other day, I was invited to a mastermind group. I am so excited. And, Gretchen, I do wish we (hou and i) could just hang out and have coffee or dinner and chat away about anything and everything. It’s lonely here in Utah.

    • http://gretchenlouise.com/ GRETCHEN LOUISE

      I wish these Western states weren’t so far apart, too. Sending hugs to Utah tonite…

  • http://www.ShineSisterShine.blogspot.com/ NELLIE

    If you are a Pennsylvania Blogger, I have setup a FB Group for called Words Up – Pennsylvania Christian Bloggers Network. Please feel free to join!

    • http://gretchenlouise.com/ GRETCHEN LOUISE

      That’s great, Nellie! Do you mind sharing the direct link to the group here? (I tried to find it and it didn’t come up in my search.)

    • http://twitter.com/seasonswithsoul ELIZABETH ANNE MAY

      I’m a PA blogger–that sounds great!

  • ONEREBELHEART

    Yes, yes, yes! I live near Greenville, SC, where the Allume conference will be held in October. I would love to find someone nearby who also loves Jesus and loves to write!

    • http://gretchenlouise.com/ GRETCHEN LOUISE

      Hopefully the Allume conference will bring some blogging neighbors to light, if you don’t find them sooner!

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