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Writing is a solitary endeavor. (If you’re reading this, you probably already know that.) After all, it’s virtually impossible to write any sort of narrative whilst talking to someone. I imagine that some of you wish your significant other, roommates, children--maybe even your parents--understood this fact.

Yet, although some people can write in a vacuum, most of us can’t.

This is where community comes into play. Whether one has a regular critique group to attend, or perhaps a creative writing class at the community centre, or even writing dates with another author friend, it seems that the accountability endemic to deadlines helps many of us to stay in focus.

But what if you don’t have deadlines for a group, a class, or a writing partner? What if you don’t have an editor or agent waiting with bated breath for your current project? An online community can be just the ticket.

Okay, it’s true that the Internet can be its own bane, luring us away from our writing. But it can also be a huge boon, allowing us to interact with others--all over the world!--on our own terms.

It’s not like the phone, which some of us have a hard time not answering when it rings while we’re working. And it’s not like a family member who can’t--or chooses not to--read the ‘Keep Out!’ sign posted on the writing room door.

No, the Internet is a place where we can choose to go to when we need or want contact with the outside world, and that we can shut off when we’re done.

Hence the growth of sites like NILTOY, NaNoWriMo, and countless other groups and forums where we can state goals and report progress. Where we can ask for encouragement or give support as needed. Where we can even become friends with people we might never meet.

As writers, we often have to trick ourselves into applying the seats of our trousers to the seats of our chairs. Knowing that we have to tell others whether we met our day’s quota can be an effective tool in our top-hat of tricks.

So look around and find a community that suits you. Then sit down and write some more words so you have progress to report!