So one action I encourage my students to take is to go to cons, BSFA meetings, whatever event they can where writers (and artists and fans and whoever else I am forgetting) get together. But why?
Because writing doesn’t exist in a vacuum: writers flourish in a community.
I wouldn’t be even a fraction of the writer I am now (which changes with the winds!) without the writers I’ve met from so many different backgrounds and of various skill levels. Being part of a community—whether it’s being part of a writing group or even hanging out at the bar at a con—means that you have the opportunity to exchange ideas, debate opinions, recommend new reads, and keep up on the latest goings-on (and gossip!) in your chosen genre community. And how cool is it to be able to walk into a room of strangers or mostly strangers yet know that all of those people share your geekery? Last weekend I presented a paper at a conference on the British Country House 1914-2014. We were all academics, sure, but totally geeking out on historic houses. We talked about Downton and Brideshead Revisited and the National Trust. It might have been a conference rather than a convention, but we were still all creative types, sharing our ideas on what we loved.
We may create alone, but we don't have to be alone.