The image of the writer – historically speaking – is of a guy and a typewriter in a room, isolated, alone, slaving away at his craft. Writers lived lives that kept them introverted in the social sense and often at odds with other writers. Read biographies of great writers ,and you’ll read stories of the often great feuds between them.
Fast forward to today and the image of the writer is quite different. We live in a global world where the writer – even when alone at a computer in her attic room – is by no means isolated. She may be talking with someone in England or Canada or Australia or Africa or…well, you get the idea.
Todays writer cannot afford to live in isolation. Ours is a job fraught with rejection, criticism, and constant uphill battles. No one wants to take that journey alone. The writers of yesterday would be quite surprised to find how much todays writers rely on each other and the community of writers. We have local groups that keep us afloat such as critique groups and beta readers, and we have regional groups such as writer’s guilds and unions that provide us with much-needed support. We have national organizations that allow us to widen our circle of influence and to help us learn from a diverse group of people.
We have online groups which allow us to interact with people we might never meet otherwise and establish friendships that would not have been possible thirty years ago. In this regard, there’s never been a better time for writers.
As I drove to the college this morning, it occurred to me that I rarely talk to others about this. I’m blessed by this circle of friends, their insights, words of criticism and support, and sometimes, just the shared laughter and tears.
Novel Clique is my critique group. A sisterhood of writers who close down Border’s once a week and laugh and cry with abandon. I’d be lost without them.We began as a group of unpublished writers and have stayed together and grown together. We’ve now celebrated as each has published.
First Tuesdays is Novel Clique’s pay it forward. We began it as a way to help new writer’s starting down that path. It’s a gentle hand of guidance from people who have been in the trenches and felt the slinging of mud and the harsh lash of criticism handled incorrectly. Once a month it’s an opportunity for laughter and shared experiences. We all learn from it.
Professional writers are generous beyond belief. It amazes me every day at the number of writers who continue to reach out to writers every where – published or not – to offer insights and support. For me, that list includes Nancy Pickard, Richard Thomas, Harlan Coben, and Les Edgerton. Successful writers are busy people; and when they take the time to reach out with a kind word or suggestions for a WIP or just a smile at a conference, it’s important to say thank you. Thank you!
MFA’ers – you know who you are – are definitely special people to me. We shared an experience that bonded us in ways that are almost familial. Our continued contact is important to me and always will be.
Online writing friends consist of people I’ve met on blogs, Facebook, and even face to face at conferences and then, continue to communicate with online. These friendships are unique. I might never have met these people if not for technology. I enjoy the banter and exchanging of ideas and support across the miles that separate us.