My topic today was inspired by a post from Angela’s Work at Home Blog. Some time ago Angela wrote “Forums I Have Checked Out” where she lists some of her favorite forums (Link no longer available). For several weeks that post has been running through the back of my mind, and for the next few days I’ve decided to address how forums can help writers.
Basically, I’ll be discussing the following (I’ll add links as they become available):
- Why forum participation is helpful to writers (today’s post)
- Writer’s forums that I have checked out
- Blogger’s forums that I have checked out
As a writer (and especially as a work-at-home writer) it’s tempting to either ignore forums altogether, or to lurk silently at forums without ever actively participating. However, there are benefits to active forum participation that you should know about. (As a habitual forum lurker, I’m preaching to myself here.)
Some benefits to participating in forums include the following:
- Get your questions answered free of charge. If you can discern good advice from bad advice, forum participation can save you money. Career coaches and technical support lines often charge top dollar to answer your questions. Forum participants usually don’t charge for their help.
- Get your questions answered before you ask them. Another writer’s problem this week may be your problem next week. Learn from the questions that other writers ask. In addition, forums can introduce you to innovations, resources, classes, books, and other tools that can help you in your career.
- Find jobs. People regularly post job leads in forums, especially writing forums. While every job lead that is posted might not be legitimate, usually forum participants will react quickly if a job lead post is a known dead-end.
- Get help meeting your deadlines. If your contract allows you to use subcontractors and you find yourself with more work than time, you can sometimes post a plea for help on a writer’s forum. I, myself, have helped a writer out in this way.
- Help others. Did you just learn something neat about your work and now want to share it with someone else? If you work at home that can be tough to do. Writer’s forums and blogger’s forums can provide an outlet for your excitement.
- Find camaraderie. In-house workers enjoy sharing experiences at the water cooler, in the lunchroom, or some other common meeting ground. At-home workers don’t have that water cooler group to share workplace frustrations and triumphs with. Forums can meet your need to interact with others who are going through the same, or similar, experiences.
- Drive traffic to your blog. It’s true. After checking my stats, I discovered that most of my traffic comes from a forum where I am an active participant. This is consistently true despite my being listed in several blog directories, MyBlogLog, Technorati, and so on. Many forums will allow you to post links in your signature line. If you have a blog make sure your link is in your signature if the forum allows it.
Contents (c) Copyright 2007, Laura Spencer. All rights reserved.