How Much Should Community Cost?

Recently, I attended a virtual writer’s conference. Because these days that’s how conferences happen. Plus, I’m sick of the isolation my struggle to write has caused between me and the community of writers.

I chose this particular conference because of the keynote speakers. I’d “met” both women before and had read many of their books. In light of my lack of passion for writing and my inability to find writing direction, I felt these two spiritual giants would have a word for my heart.

Let’s face it, I hoped a miracle would happen.

I wanted God to shine a spotlight on my path. I hoped I’d feel joy and excitement at the prospect of writing again.

It isn’t anyone’s fault that didn’t happen. I can’t blame those incredible speakers for my burnout and absent sense of purpose.

But I can be a bit miffed at the organizers of the conference for holding their writing community hostage.

What do I mean? I mean, I needed to pay a ransom to be admitted.

I don’t think a struggling writer should have to pay for an inclusive, supportive community of like-minded writers.

But I’m not going to claim the organizers of this conference are evil or money-hungry because they’re charging a monthly fee for a community that offers leadership from a widely respected published author. She deserves to be paid for her time.

However, I strongly believe there should be communities that don’t charge. I mentioned during the presentation about it at the conference that I ran one. You know, in the comments. Two attendees reached out to me and ended up joining my community.

I don’t believe community should cost money. Too many things in life are inaccessible to people because of the financial burden. I don’t believe the dream of being a published author should be one of them.

That’s why I started Write Your Book Nook. Sure, I also hope to cultivate relationships that might lead to a coaching or mentoring contract in the future. I want these writers to level up, and sometimes you have to pay someone to help you reach that next level.

But I don’t believe every shred of teaching needs to require a payment plan. Nor should writers who are just starting out be expected to shell out a monthly fee for years. Yes, years. Because that’s how long it can take to learn the craft of writing well enough to be ready to pay for a critique to get invaluable input that will take a story to the publishable level.

There are a ton of groups out there that charge monthly fees. I’m a member of Novel Academy. I recently looked at Hope Writers, and I’m a member of the free Facebook group for Ninja Writers, although I haven’t paid for any of their membership upgrades.

I don’t have anything against any of these organizations. I just want struggling writers to know they don’t have to pay to get support from published authors. My group is free, and there are several indie published members in the group.

Every day, I invite members to share their struggles. Other writers in the group can offer advice and encouragement. If anyone has a question, they’re free to post it and gain insights from the rest of the group.

And once each a week, I go Live in the group and present a lesson on a writing topic. Last week, I talked about various drafting methods. Tomorrow, I’ll be live talking about marketing on social media. If that sounds interesting to you, check it out here. The videos are under the “Guides” tab.

This is a community of writers where we want to help each other. Sure, we hope we’ll find a hand up when we need it, too, but isn’t that what community is all about?

Community should be a free forum where like-minded people can help and be helped, support and be supported.

What do you think? Do you value a community that’s free? Of do you think any community offering valuable content should cost something?

What do you think? Add to the discussion here.