By Women Writers Network
If you haven’t already met us through Twitter, allow me to introduce you to Women Writers Network. We’re an international team dedicated to supporting our fellow women writers through our presence on Twitter. Over the last few years, our volunteers have promoted work by women writers from all backgrounds and across all genres and categories, because we believe women deserve the same recognition and attention male writers receive. Our group wants to make our corner of Twitter a welcoming place for women writers to share their words with the world.
From Coursework To A Cause
When our founder members initially met in 2017, we had yet to realise our combined potential for connecting with other women writers through social media. At the time, we were attending an online marketing course for creative writers offered by Women Writers School. Women Writers School was a business established by former academic and digital marketeer, Laurie Garrison. Already aware that women receive less recognition for their writing and fewer publishing opportunities (as highlighted by the 2016 VIDA report), Laurie wanted to address this sexism and counteract it by creating an online community of women writers who support each other in a friendly environment.
This mission would soon become one shared by several of her students. Through our coursework and, later, ongoing alumni activities in the newly formed Women Writers Network, we developed both camaraderie and a desire to do more than promote just our own writing: we wanted to help other women writers as well. To do so, we decided to create a Twitter account with the goal of championing women writers. In February 2018, @womenwritersnet was launched. In April of the same year, we held our first Twitter chat on ‘Women Writers And The Environment’.
Meet Our Team
Currently, our active volunteer team of creative writers includes Gail Aldwin, Sandy Bennett-Haber, Liz Champion, Laurie Garrison, Rita E. Gould, Nastasya Parker, Helen Taylor, Sarah Tinsley, Valeria Vescina, and, most recently, Beverley Ward. Our steering committee members (Liz, Laurie, Rita and Helen) handle day-to-day operations as well as manage projects, develop policies and organise our online meetings. We’ve been published by the likes of Unbound, Mslexia, Comma Press, Dear Damsels, Palgrave Macmillan, The F Word and others. Based in France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, our group comes from diverse backgrounds and career paths. You can find out more about us at our newly launched website: womenwritersnetwork.com.
Behind The Scenes On Twitter And At The Chats
Each week, a different volunteer manages our Twitter account. We post information of relevance to our followers, with content ranging from writing advice to upcoming events, publishing opportunities, and contests. Often, our volunteers focus on a theme of their choosing (eg writing motivation), as we cheer on successes and/or encourage writers to persevere. If our followers have specific questions about writing and publishing, we offer our own experiences, or ask our community to pass along their wisdom. Additionally, we want to publicise news about women’s writing projects with our followers. If you have a blog post, a book release, a review, an upcoming event or a publishing success you think might be of interest to our followers, you can direct message us on Twitter (@womenwritersnet), contact us through our website: womenwritersnetwork.com/contact-us, or tag us in your Tweets: @womenwritersnet.
Of course, we also host the themed #womenwritersnet Tweetchat most months. The #womenwritersnet chat takes place over an hour, during which participants are asked six questions about the topic under discussion. It’s a fun, fast-paced hour that lets us converse with our followers, and we find it always ends far too soon! Typically, we include questions directly related to women’s experiences. We love to encourage our participants to tell us about their own writing (either a quote or link to something published) and recommend their favourite women writers related to the topic. Since we’re all creative writers, many of our chat topics come from our own writing and reading interests, such as ‘Women Writing Memoirs’ or ‘Women Writing About Difficult Women’. Sometimes, the topics centre on the business side of writing (eg promoting your own writing), or are inspired by larger movements in the writing community (eg NaNoWriMo), or the world (eg International Women’s Day). While our focus remains on women, much of the content is broadly applicable to all writers, and we welcome everyone to follow our account and/or join the Twitter chats.
Signs Of Success: Participant Comments
Women Writers Network is a highlight on Twitter for me! It is a truly wonderful thing to come across a community that is so supportive, generous with knowledge and advice, and always on the lookout to promote other writers.
These are just a small selection of the messages of appreciation we’ve had since we launched on Twitter in 2018. With over 5800 followers (and counting) and a website (womenwritersnetwork.com), our group’s outreach is really growing. Our Tweetchats have become so busy, we now need two hosts to field all the brilliant insights and observations from our attendees.
Our real success, however, lies not in the number of followers we have, or our shiny new website, but with the community we’ve built and how we’re using that community to support fellow women writers, with their daily writing struggles, or to champion their success. We’re especially pleased we’ve also been the catalyst for several productive collaborations and connections. For example, two of our volunteers, Sarah Tinsley and Gail Alwin, appeared on the Extreme Holidays podcast, hosted by regular chat attendee and prize-winning author of Aftershock, Ruth Millington.
Going forwards, we’d love to grow our community even further and continue to get the word out about how great women writers are. We’re considering a couple of potential projects, so watch this space. In the meantime, you can visit our new website: womenwritersnetwork.com to learn more about us, follow us on Twitter: @womenwritersnet, tag us on your Tweets, and, of course, tune into our Tweetchats on the hashtag #womenwritersnet on the third Thursday of most months at six pm BST/GMT.
We believe women deserve the same recognition and attention male writers receive. Our group wants to make our corner of Twitter a welcoming place for women writers to share their words with the world.