I’m always excited to tell my followers about another helpful website for writers, and today I’ve got a terrific one to share. I recently met Justin Cox of The Writing Cooperative, which provides advice and encouragement for writers of all genres. Founded by Justin Cox, Jessica Jungton, and Sand Farnia, The Writing Cooperative strives to connect writers and help them grow. Below is an interview with Justin, chock full of valuable resources.
How did The Writing Cooperative come about? When was it founded?
The Writing Cooperative was formed in 2015 as a publication on Medium. Initially, the publication was formed to give people an opportunity to share and peer-edit each others work. It was a small band of people committed to bettering each other. The publication and community grew from there. We’re now one of the largest publications on Medium, publishing writing advice and interviews to over 200k followers.
How did you know your co-founders?
Jessica, Sand and I have never actually met in person. We came together to create The Writing Cooperative because we all were passionate about writing and helping others improve their abilities. We initially communicated and built everything through very long email chains and have since moved to other collaboration tools like Slack and Discord.
What is the goal of The Writing Cooperative?
Our goal is simple: help writers improve. The primary way we reach our goal is through the publication, providing between five and ten new articles each day. In the years since our inception, we’ve also expanded to an active Facebook Group where people from around the world connect and help each other out, a podcast, a store, and a presence on every social media network.
What types of articles have you published on the blog?
We publish anything and everything as long as it encourages writers or helps them improve their skills. We strive to publish unique ideas that get writers thinking. Recently, we’ve published stories about improving your ability as a storyteller, promoting your books, and writing for your ideal reader.
Our most popular stories contain quick pieces of advice, often gleaned from working writers. Our Write Now series interviews writers about their habits and styles. There’s a lot writers can learn from authors like Andy Weir, Kristen Arnett, and Pierce Brown.
Additionally, our ProTips series contains bite-sized advice from the likes of Malcolm Gladwell and Margaret Atwood.
How does the blog work – how much of it is written in-house and how much comes from submissions? Do readers need to be members of Medium to read the articles?
The vast majority of our publication’s content comes from our open submissions process. Anyone with a Medium account can request to contribute to our publication. So long as the submission is unique and meets our standards, we’ll publish the story to our audience. What’s great about being publishing within Medium is our stories are often distributed outside our publication throughout Medium’s network. This brings an even greater exposure to our contributors’ content. Plus, since Medium pays writers through their Partner Program, writers receive compensation based on the engagement their stories receive. This helps us get great content to share with the world and helps writers earn money for their words.
Since everything we publish is behind Medium’s paywall, a membership is required to read more than three articles a month. Medium only curates stories throughout their network and to people beyond the author’s follower list if they’re behind the paywall. With the added bonus of writer compensation, it’s in everyone’s interest to publish accordingly.
What types of discussion and events happen in your Facebook group?
We have guided discussions a few times a week based on topics that bubble up in the publication or through other discussions. Though most of the conversations happen organically with people looking for support or asking for editing advice.
We run a few writing challenges a year. Most recently we partnered with Inspired Writer for a personal essay contest. Again, our goal is supporting and encouraging writers, and sometimes that means giving away free things.
Tell me about your podcast.
Our podcast, This Week In Writing, launched in July. It’s a different way to engage with writers around the world. Episodes typically include some of our more popular content along with a discussion from our community, though there are a few special edition episodes coming out soon featuring interviews with content writing experts and the authors behind some of our favorite series.
Since we’re all about engaging our community, we wanted the podcast to feature people from our community. Each week we have a discussion segment where listeners can “call in” and be part of the show. This uses a voice message feature, but gives everyone an opportunity to be part of the show. It’s been a lot of fun to hear people “call in” from around the world.
The website talks about live and virtual events. What are some types of events you’ve held?
Earlier this summer we hosted two live comedy events over Zoom. Each show featured four working comedians or comedy writers. They performed a stand-up set or read one of their pieces live and then provided tips for writing comedy. These were great events and a lot of fun to produce. We sold tickets so we could compensate the comedians. We have ideas for additional live shows later this fall, so stay tuned to learn about those.
What can people expect if they sign up for The Write-Up?
The Write Up is our monthly newsletter. Over 63k people trust us with their email address, so we strive to make The Write Up something they want to read. The Write Up is where we make our big announcements, like when we launched our podcast or if we’re hosting a giveaway. It also typically includes an actionable quick tip and links to some of our favorite stories from the past month.
Tell me about your Patreon program.
Our Patreon is a way for people who want to support us monetarily to do so. We don’t run ads on anything we do, so Patreon is a way to help keep Jessica, Sand, and I going. For the financial support, our patrons receive perks, like discounts on ProWritingAid and access to our priority submission system.
Tell me about your own writing? What do you write?
I write across genres, but mainly in the realm of personal essays. Because of my work with The Writing Cooperative, I write a lot of writing guides and encouragement for writers. Some of my most popular stories include my guides to all things Medium and freelance writing. Though, what I’ve been exploring lately is old-fashioned blogging through the resurgence of newsletters. My weekly newsletter, This Just In, provides a new outlet for creativity that goes directly to my readers. It’s been a lot of fun to experiment with.
More About Justin
Justin Cox is a content writer living in Orlando, FL. His work has appeared in Wired, Film School Rejects, Heart Support, The Billfold, ProWritingAid, PS I Love You, The Writing Cooperative, and more. Justin is also the co-founder of The Writing Cooperative, a publication and community for writers.
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