My short answer was: There is no one definitive writers' community, which is a good thing 'cause that means that there are plenty of different groups and conversations that you can jump into. I'm not a member of any face-to-face writers' group, but I'm on the mailing lists for:
- WriteClique, which began ostensibly as a Singapore-based writers group. The membership focus seems diluted now and mailing list activity (mostly job listings and freelancing advice) is intermittent.
- Singapore Arts Community, which is more miss than hit if you merely want freelance writing assignments, but is good for finding out about arts-related events and news.
- WritersNet, an international database of writers which has yielded me exactly one job in three years (though it was a nice plum job).
- Singapore Journalists and Writers Discussion Group
- Singapore Writers' Festival
- Singapore Writers' Guild
- Singapore Society of Writers
- Writers in Singapore
My own personal network of fellow writers was built up primarily through word of mouth. Before I became a writer, I was a teacher and I worked in corporate communications, so some of my former colleagues naturally became part of that ad hoc network. Since then I've met more writers through work, events, online interactions and good old-fashioned socialising-without-intending-to-network.
All of which goes to show that there's no secret handshake or password for this sort of thing. I think it's a combination of doing the work seriously, remembering the people you've met and, as always, a little dash of serendipity.
More on networking in the next post --- specifically, on the whole "social networking" business that's so trendy these days.