How to get involved with your local writing community

Writer and publisher of Burial Day Books, Cynthia Pelayo, provided a great interview for me two years ago about her life as a horror writer in Chicago. One of the things that I was most impressed with her was how involved she was with the writing community there, and she gave some awesome tips on how others can get involved with their local community. Here's an excerpt from her October 2012 interview:
Cynthia Pelayo said, "I’m a big fan of readings! In Chicago, there are many locations, indie book shops, pubs, and restaurants that hold readings. First, reach out to your neighborhood bookstore, find out if they have a writers group or if they hold monthly readings. Attend those events, introduce yourself to those readers/writers. There are also writer’s workshops that are conducted for free sometimes at art centers, cultural centers, schools and libraries. Those are great place to meet other writers, and learn about the tools for writing – for free. Finally, get in touch with independent literary magazines or publications in your area seeking submissions. Local publications love local authors. 
So, get involved in the writing community by going where the writers go – whether they’re readings or workshops and then reach out to publications looking for submissions in your area and submit your work! What’s the worst thing they can say? No.  
Finally, get a few live readings of your work under your belt. If there aren’t any regular readings in your neighborhood, reach out to your favorite coffee shop, indie book shop or pub and see if you can schedule an event. Organize some folks to come and read their work to a live audience. They’re free to organize, as they bring people to the location, and reading your work to a live audience (while it sounds frightening) is a great learning experience."
For more information about Pelayo, check out her website: