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June 12, 2012

3 Reasons to Love the Writing Community

Stones piled in heart shape on a beach

I’ve had a lot to be thankful for lately.  My family and I got away for a fun vacation, my klutziness didn’t result in too many injuries out in the middle of nowhere, and I survived being without internet access for much of the time. *smile*

I was also reminded—again—how awesome the writing community is.  During the last week, several things emphasized that truth in a big way.

#1—Writers Are Happy to Answer Questions and Help Each Other

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been working on developing a new story.  I was excited to start writing, but the voice of the heroine just wasn’t coming to me.  I sent out a call on Twitter to one of my favorite bloggers, Janice Hardy, for advice.

She replied with a great tip to have the protagonist journal for a few days.  And then another friend of mine from Twitter, Kathrine Roid, piped up with the fabulous idea to ask the character what irked her.  (Hee! Love that one.)

On another writing forum (that I’ll talk about in a minute), I got the advice from Angela Ackerman to try writing the first chapter or two in first person POV (point of view) to really get into the character’s head.  And Lynn Epnett came back with the insight that broke through the how-do-I-capture-the-voice-of-this-character block for good.  Lynn shared that my character might not be shy but merely quiet, and that in her head, she was probably full of strong thoughts and opinions.  Brilliant!

This past weekend, I was able to start writing this new WIP (work-in-progress).  While the voice might need to be tweaked down the line, I discovered my character did have plenty to say.

I’ve consistently found that writers love to give each other advice and help us get over our writing humps.  To all of you, thank you!

#2—Writers Support and Recognize Each Other’s Hard Work

While I was in the middle of nowhere last week, I got a split second of cell signal—long enough to see an email from Facebook saying Angela Ackerman had tagged me for something about being a writing hero.  Me?  A hero?  That couldn’t be right.

Imagine me trying to eek out a single bar of cell signal on my phone to look up the post while we’re driving through nowhere-ville.  *holding the phone over my head at a 45 degree angle*  Nothing.  *trying a 50 degree angle*  Etc., etc.

I finally saw the news that one of my favorite websites, The Bookshelf Muse, had honored me as a Writing Hero.  *cue tears*  Then throughout the day, people posted comments saying the nicest things about me.  And I wasn’t even online to bribe them!  *cue more tears*

This supportive nature of the writing community is sometimes what keeps us going when the rejections pile up or when the doom and gloom of the industry news threatens to make us give up writing altogether.  Whether we send out congratulatory tweets for starting a new book, email advice for how to get past writer’s block, or comment on posts about the joy of typing “The End,” we’re there to help each other celebrate the good things.

Check out The Bookshelf Muse‘s list of writing heroes to find writers who go out of their way to be awesome and helpful.  Several of my favorite people are on the list, and I’m stunned to be included among them.

#3—Writers Are Creative and Think of New Ways to Do Things

One of the other big events I missed last week was the launch of WANATribe.  Those of you on Twitter have probably seen tweets with the hashtag of #MyWANA.  WANA stands for We Are Not Alone and is based off Kristen Lamb’s book of the same name.

Now, Kristen could have let the idea behind WANA—writers helping each other—stay there on Twitter and called it a day.  But nooo.  Kristen loves to think big.  Really big.

So she took the concept of WANA and launched a network for writers, artists, and all creative types called WANATribe.  It’s part Facebook, part forum, part chat room, and part of a bunch of other stuff I haven’t figured out yet.  *smile*  It’s a giant social media playground, just for us.  No spammers allowed.  I’m looking forward to seeing how it evolves.

But that’s not all.  Kristen also launched WANA International, a new webinar platform for learning.  I’ll be one of the instructors in the fall, and Kristen has classes planned for writing craft, social media, technology, life balance, business, etc.  And I love this video introducing the concept.  *wants a Francis plushie*

Francis Finds His Art.

Bonus—Writers Do Random Acts of Kindness for Each Other

Going along with the theme of this post, we all remember the Random Acts of Kindness Blitz that Angela and Becca started at The Bookshelf Muse to celebrate the release of their book, The Emotion Thesaurus, right?  In other catching-up news, I’d like to announce the winners of my Win-Win/Random-Act-of-Kindness Giveaway.

Congratulations!  *tosses confetti*  I’ll be in touch with details about how to pick out your prize.

What things do you love about the writing community?  Do you have more awesomeness to add to the list?  Is there anything the writing community could do to be more supportive?  Have you joined WANATribe yet?  Do you also want a Francis plushie?  *smile*

P.S. Yes, I’m on Pinterest now and have “Pin It” links on most of my posts.  If you’re on Pinterest too and I’m not following you yet, leave your link in the comments.

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What do you think?

33 Comments on "3 Reasons to Love the Writing Community"

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Buffy Armstrong

Yay for me! I love to win. Thanks, Jami.

I’ve been talking to folks in the writing community for less than a year. Up until then, I thought that I had to struggle alone with my writing. I’m glad I was wrong. Sometimes it’s as simple as a Retweet or note saying my blog made someone laugh that makes my day and keeps me going.

I’ve found that most writers are helpful and sincere. Granted there are a few that aren’t, but that goes for every community. I’m proud to be a part of it.

Chihuahua0

Hmm…how can I do random acts of kindness at the writer’s forum I’m at?

Kat

Aw, I really love the writing community too! Especially because they never let you give up and encourage you to just keep trying 🙂 Glad you had such a good writing-related week!

Lynn Epnett

How wonderful that I could be of help! You happened to ask a question I have also been exploring, that’s all.

I’m still planning my book, so I’ve only recently started interacting with the writing community, but I agree that it is terrific to see so many opinions and find others thinking the same thinky thoughts.

(How in the world do you stay active on so many social media sites?! I can barely remember I have a Twitter account.)

Tamara LeBlanc
Tamara LeBlanc

I too LOVE the writing community. Like you, I have gleaned so much knowledge from other authors (I thought the insight Lynn Epnett gave you was brilliant as well!)
I’ve had my ups and downs while chasing my writing dreams, and I’ve found that most authors are happy to help out in so many ways. I’ve gotten loads of support on FB and Twitter, everything from cheers of joy when I’ve had a great writing week, or virtual pats on the back when I’ve finished WIPs, to understanding and words of wisdomwhen I’ve been stuck or worried about my abilities.
You happen to be one of those authors, Jami. You’ve helped me on more than one occassion and I’m thankful for your friendship. I also completely understand why you were given Writing Hero status…because you are one.
I agree with you one hundred percent! The writing community I know and love is a fabulous one!!
Thanks for your support and knowledge. I appreciate it more than you know.
Have a happy Tuesday!!
Tamara

Stacy
Stacy

Hey Jami!

I share your reasons with loving the writing community, and often times I get the warm grateful fuzzies knowing the writers I do. We’ve helped each other for years, being encouraging and honest about improving our skills and expecting the best work we’re capable of.

It wasn’t that long ago I struggled with a character. I knew where I wanted him to go, I had reasoning behind his thoughts/actions, but he still fell flat for me. That’s when I knew reasoning alone wasn’t enough. I had to push those reasons further, raise the stakes until I was satisfied. 🙂 And it helps to have a few people who really understand me when I bring yet another “What if instead…” and can be assured my brand of crazy is the kind that’s working. I love doing the same for them. (There’s nothing like plotting to get the juices flowing.) I’m grateful to know my writer friends, and I wouldn’t have met them if it hadn’t been for community. *cue warm fuzzies*

I’m glad The Bookshelf Muse honored you. You deserve it!

@FlightofaBbee

Jemi Fraser

I’m scared to get to Pinterest – I think I’ll be sucked in completely!!! 🙂

Congrats on being a writing hero – that’s awesome and well deserved 🙂

angelaackerman

I think we are all so much more together than we are apart! I am so grateful to the generosity of other writers, (writers like you!) for all they have shared with me. Not only do they make me a stronger writer, but they make me a better person, too. 🙂

Writers rock–there is no two ways about it 🙂 Have a great week Jami!

Angela

Renee A. Schuls-Jacobson

You are too much! And can I tell you, I named you as a my writing hero, too! Did you see that? Same post, I think. I’m so excited. But just knowing you — and so many other wonderful people — has made me feel part of a wonderful writing community in a community that doesn’t really have the strongest writing community IRL. So thank you Jami for all that you do. And SQUEEEE! 😉 Thank for the mention.

Lena Corazon

I completely agree, Jami! Over the last year, the writing community has given me way more love than I ever thought possible. From awesome writing tips and resources to just indulging my flights of fancy and imaginary friends, I feel validated in a million different ways.

And I echo everyone above — you are most definitely an awesome writing hero! So many of your posts have been instrumental in my growth as a writer. A million thanks, my friend! 😀 😀

Lynn Kelley

Congrats on being a Writing Hero and your new position as a WANA International instructor. Awesome! Yes, I joined WANATribe and I love the site. I love the writing community because I’ve made life-long friends, met kindred souls who enrich my life. Writers are wonderful people.

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becca puglisi
becca puglisi

Congrats to the winners! And it’s people like you in this writing community that make it so wonderful. Thanks for being so awesome, Jami!

Gene Lempp

I’m way slow this week…

Great points (and some uber tips loaded in there as well – a special bonus) and could not agree more. The writing community is simply the best!

Excellent post, Jami 🙂

L.S. Engler

Well said! My love for the writing community I’ve discovered since I’ve started blogging seems boundless; I can never seem to find the right words to express how truly grateful and inspired I am by them. I’m on the cusp of publishing my first book, and it would have never have happened if it wasn’t for the fantastic writing community encouraging me and teaching me how to do it. Even quiet little introverts like myself can find someone who can take what we’re thinking and put it into words much more effectively, like this post!

And I love that I got here and discovered this post through a different author (Gene Lempp!), too.

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