First, let me say: No, I don’t mean this blog title sarcastically. I really have made some great friends in the writing sphere. Some of them are further along in the process than I am (agented, or even published), but I honestly wish only the best for them. Even my less-than-stellar contest scores didn’t lead me to complain about those who scored higher. Why?
Am I unusual in this regard? No, I don’t think so. I think most of us understand this isn’t a zero-sum game. Just because so-and-so is successful doesn’t mean we can’t be successful too. In fact, successful authors are often happy to share their advice, help critique, give blurbs or agent recommendations, and in general, be supportive of their friends in the field.
And speaking of those contest scores, I think my critique partner was more upset about the judges’ comments than I was. Talk about support. Now it’s her turn to receive her contest feedback and I want to have good, long “talk” with those judges. *ahem* Yeah, talk. Just today, I think I was more crushed than my dear friend, Mercedes, when she got her first bad review. In other words, we sincerely care about and support each other.
How Do You Join This Family?
The same way you become part of any social network: Be social. In addition to Twitter, I’m also on Facebook and Goodreads. And gosh yes, that all can be a huge time suck if you let it. But writing is a very solitary endeavor. We sit for hours in front of a computer. Alone.
In a regular office job, people have co-workers to talk to and share with. And yes, most of us have to hold down day jobs that expose us to other human beings. But I’d bet that most of us don’t talk to them about our writing very much.
First of all, they just don’t care that much about it. Secondly, they’re not in the industry, so they automatically assume that getting published is easy. And quite frankly, we get tired of them asking—So are you published yet?—every week, like things in the industry would ever move that quickly.
So no, we want other writers to relate to. How can we do that when we’re all holed up in front of our laptops and desktops? Through those online social networks I mentioned above.
Moriah Jovan had a great tweet yesterday:
Twitter is the cubicle wall I talk through to my friends while I’m working.
And that’s the absolute truth. Twitter and Facebook give us (often-introverted) writers that outlet to share and make friends. Yes, these can be great at expanding your influence or defining your brand, but the best way to use them is to make friends.
Friends will support you when things go badly. Friends will cheer you on when things go well. Friends will post to their Wall or retweet your messages to expand your influence even more when you need help. Other people who understand your writing quirks are out there, willing to be your friend, and they can help make this crazy, rollercoaster journey worth it.
Have you made online writer friends? What’s the best thing to have come from that group of friends? Is there anything you wish you could change or improve? *raises hand* I’ll take more hours in a day, thanks!
Reminder: Check out my previous post for a book giveaway.