123: How Community Will Help You Become a Better Writer with Diana Glyer

Writing is a battle. It’s a fight to find the right words to express your thoughts or feelings, capture the beauty of a sunset, or explore the depths of the human heart. But writing is not a battle you have to fight by yourself.

How Community Will Help You Become a Better Writer with Diana Glyer

As a writer or creative person, you don’t have to do your work completely alone. You don’t have to scale a mountainside, retreat to solitude for 40 days, and then descend with a glorious work of art for people to gaze upon in amazement.

Most pieces of great art are not created in isolation. They are forged in community and collaboration with others.

To create great work and succeed as a writer, you will need a community of people who care about you and your work. Someone in your life who will hold you accountable, encourage you when you’re down, and tell you the truth when you can do better.

This week on The Portfolio Life, Diana Glyer and I talk about why great art needs to be created in community.

Diana shares invaluable lessons on writing, sustaining a creative life, and the power of community from one of the most famous literary groups of all-time—the Inklings.

Listen in as Diana and I discuss what you can learn from the Inklings about the creative life, and practical steps you can take to build your own creative community of support.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below. (If you are reading this via email or RSS, please click here.)

Show highlights

In this episode, Diana and I discuss:

  • Who the Inklings are, and why this group still matters today.
  • The dynamics and quirks of literary groups.
  • How community can positively influence your work.
  • Why people believed the individuals within the Inklings were immune to influence from each other.
  • The pervasive myth of the solitary genius.
  • How great art and writing is forged in community.
  • Why writing is not a momentary flash of genius, but a slow and steady work of art.
  • What you need to know about the transactional nature of writing.
  • Steps you can take to build your own literary group.

Quotes and takeaways

  • We are mesmerized by the end of the story, but we forget about the beginning.
  • To build community, you have to take a risk and share your work with others.
  • Start small when you build a community of support.
  • Loneliness will leave you feeling empty, but community will help you sustain your work.


Who are you going to surround yourself with on your writing journey? Share in the comments.

15 thoughts on “123: How Community Will Help You Become a Better Writer with Diana Glyer

  1. I’ve started identifying as a writer only within the last couple years (I’m 32). As a result, I’ve become distant from my community and some of my closest friends. When I was a child and young adult, being part of a ‘community’, whether at church, school or work, sometimes didn’t feel right, and was sometimes very painful.

    I assumed that once I started writing, I would be judged for the things I write by the people I was loosely tied to. I was / am prepared for that. But the idea of becoming part of a new community means possibly being ignored and rejected all over again. I’m determined to move forward and work through… I was just surprised to find these issues after committing to being and doing what I’ve always wanted.

  2. Loved this podcast and shared it with a group of writers that I am a part of. We are just in the beginning stages of being connected but I hope it morphs into the type of community you were talking about in the podcast or that I find that somewhere!

  3. Thanks for this! The communities I belong to have kept me writing when I didn’t think it was worth continuing, and have absolutely made me a better writer.

  4. This is great! I used to keep my writing a secret. I know now I need to surround myself with like-minded writers who share the same struggles, victories and joys of writing. Any takers? I think I’ll look into a writing meet up group for starters.

    1. DrAngel I understand. I went to my first writer group (in person) last night. I have learned through Jeff & The Art of Work group how very important and empowering it is to have people surround you and encourage you. I wish I would have known that when I published my first book. But I know now. 🙂

      1. As many writers, I’m a little more on the introverted side but I do love to get out and meet people. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone. Having the support of other writers will be great to have.

  5. Similar to writing groups, I’ve noticed as a painter that getting out and painting with like minded artists creates a kind of synergy and communal conviviality. We learn from others, receive feedback and grow. Also, liked your counterintuitive “scarcity” article in Medium! Thanks, Jeff.

  6. Jeff,

    Thank you for the periodic insight into creating a writing masterpiece. I find this article particularly helpful, as it’s given me the courage to share my writing with a community. Just what I needed to keeping the art burning in me.

    Much thanks, Jeff.

    Adesola Ayandiji

  7. I love to learn new things, and this podcast did not disappoint! Thank you for producing and providing this interview Jeff….

    I had no idea about the Inklings, and how some of their work was profoundly affected by their relationships. Made me appreciate and better understand the value of a writing community.

    The most important thing I think I learned is how participating in a writing community is not ‘cheating’ when their suggestions are incorporated into our work.


  8. Wow, I didn’t know these authors knew each other. I kinda feel in with the stereotype, I guess. Now that I think about it, I’ve been trying to write alone, due to this weird sense of pride? I guess I thought something along the lines of, “if they could do it alone then I should be able to.” This really opened by eyes, though, so now I just need to go find some friends who are willing to brainstorm with me. ^^

  9. Thanks for this podcast Jeff

    I have decided to invite a small select group of my email list to be my ‘Inklings’ to read chapters of rough draft of my new book ‘Broken to Built’.

    Let’s see where this goes!

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