November 16, 2010

Writers: One Big Happy Family

Paper Figures Holding Hands

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!

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The best thing that came from ‘that group’ of friends was finding my critique partner. Without making those initial connections I’d be stuck on my own – dealing with my comma crisis – all by my lonesome and crying or laughing (as the case may be) on my own shoulder. Of course, it’s tough having to tiptoe up to hers – she’s kinda tall, but I manage. 😉

Oh, and I know it’s tough trying to keep yourself out there and do everything else you have to do beside write your stories, but it’s SO worth it because these friend get you – and what you’re trying to accomplish.

More hours in the day? That would be awesome, wouldn’t it?

Great post, Jami!


JM Kelley

I’ve met lots of really great authors at conferences and online. It can be an amazing experience when you find people out there who are mutually supportive because we all know how it feels to be at certain stages of the process. It’s easy, too, for people to try to force the ‘i just scratched your back, you need to scratch mine now’ mentality, but really, those are the minority. The overwhelming majority makes up this fantastic community of people who want you to succeed as much as they want it themselves. It’s heart-warming.

Having been contracted for my first novel finally, I can say I’m especially heartened after having met the authors I am working with. They are incredibly kind, giving, and ready to lend a hand at any time. I’m so fortunate to have met these people!

Joanna St. James

i met my cp online too and we hit it off so well i can even afford to be snarky in her crit and she gets me.


Couldn’t agree more, Jami! I’ve been so amazed by the kindness of other writers, and the way they don’t stand for jealousy/arrogance nonsense. People who write negative tweets are frowned at, and people who are plain rude are unfollowed. Writers aren’t just supportive – they’re professionals who respect others.

One of the things I was most surprised about when I started getting involved online is published authors’ willingness to encourage others and take part in conversations. As a passionate reader, I always saw authors as being quite distant, invisible, gifted people – like minor gods. Being able to connect with them has shown me that they’re just like me – which means I can be like them! Being nice people hopefully pays off for them, too, since I’m more likely to buy a book written by someone I like than someone who acts like a raging a-hole.


Thanks for writing this post, Jami! I feel exactly the same way. Writers are so supportive of one another. It’s nice to have such a large outlet like Twitter to interact with others that share the same passion.

Christine Bell
Christine Bell

Great Post Jami! And so true. I can’t even imagine how difficult all the rejections and waiting and not so great contest results and not so great reviews etc etc etc would be without the support of my writing friends. No one else can understand how that feels but another writer. And just as important is having them there to celebrate with you when you get your first contract or cover art or win a contest etc.

Janet B Taylor

I love Twitter- I find some awesome, amazing info there. I would love to make friends, but I get this weird, Twitter shyness. Like.. Who gives a rip if I wrote today, or even what I have to say. It’s strange. Like being the wallflower at the popular kids party.
Any suggestions on how to get over it? Or even if I should. As one of the dreaded “aspiring authors” I wonder if I should just lurk in the Twitter shadows? Although, it’s dark and lonely here. 🙂


[…] and the Refusal of the Call. And for dessert, a sweet article by Author Jami Gold about our awesome writer family. […]

Kristen Lamb

So are you published yet?

Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha *holds sides laughing*. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Boy, I feel you on that one. What I love is when people ask, “What do you do for a living?” And I say “I’m a writer.” And then they go, “No, I meant, what’s your job?”

And I think, “Oh, you suck.”

Have they been on the Internet lately? Um, somebody writes all that stuff. Watched a movie? A commercial? A freaking JINGLE? Read instructions? Writers made that happen!

I’m okay.

So are you published yet? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ok, I’ll stop. *giggles*


It’s so true! The online writing community has saved my life. Although I have some very dear local friends who write, there still aren’t many of us. But thanks to Twitter and blogs, I’m able to talk to fantastic friends like you! You guys keep me sane. Thanks for always holding the backup knives, Jami! 😉


As the TechGuy to and peripheral member of the writing community (I still haven’t decided if my internet safety for children idea will manifest itself as a series of blog posts or as a book), I appreciate the fun and friendships I’ve made here and on Twitter.

It’s so nice to see a supportive community where people are free to be themselves without fear of being attacked.

Great post, you’re awesome Jami!

-TG aka @jaytechdad


[…] my last post, I talked about the awesome and supportive writing community.  Based on the comments, a lot of […]


[…] And touched.  And teary.  So if anyone wonders if I’m sincere when I talk about the awesome writing community, if I really care about the people I reach out to, if I mean it when I tweet my Yay‘s or […]

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