Friday, September 16, 2011

We're In This Together...

If you're a writer, you'll probably agree that the writing life can be a solitary existence. You sit for hours on end at your desk, plotting (or not), hammering out ideas, researching and pulling it all together to create your next best-selling book. Well, that's the plan anyway.
Oftentimes as we write, we don't want to be disturbed. We're on a roll. Things are all falling into place and the chapters are just pouring forth in seamless harmony with nary a hiccup to be found. I have days like this all the time. My brilliance astounds me.
Chances are, you're going to have a few days during your week where you're ready to take a sledgehammer to your computer. So what do you do? Who do you call?

I've often stressed the importance of a writer having community. I'll say it again. Community.
It is absolutely vital that you belong to a group where other people are just as insane as you are. I mean, where other people understand you.
Your best friend is great. Your pastor can offer some spiritual wisdom. Your spouse might empathize and take you out to dinner. Great Aunt Gertrude will ply you with pie and sugar cookies to pull you out of your funk. But unless any of these kind folk are writers, they will never fully understand the angst you endure.

A couple of years ago, I had a great idea for a story. I was working on other projects, but I started it, set it aside, picked it up again and so on until the time came when I was ready to move forward and devote all my time to writing this book. Guess what happened? I got nothing.
My brain simply refused to cooperate! It was awful. I knew the story was good, but I couldn't plot it out to save my life. I could see the characters but they wouldn't talk to me.
I was going around in circles, ready to pull my hair out.
Fortunately I had some help along the way. Wise authors who'd been there told me to set it aside. Don't force it.
My critique partners helped me brainstorm until we had a breakthrough.
My writers group was readily available to answer any questions I had or help cheer me up when I needed a boost.
I relied on my writers community to get me through.
And eventually Reprisal was written. Time will tell whether it was worth the extra gray hairs it caused me.

So my point today is, you're not alone. We're in this together.
I talked about going to the ACFW conference next week, and trust me, when I say I'm excited, I really mean it.
This is my community. This is my home where we're all tuned into the same channel.
This group is what keeps me sane. Or tries to.
Yes, I love Facebook, Twitter and my blogging buds, but nothing beats a real flesh and blood friend with a mile long grin on her face as she sees you again after a year. Nothing beats a hug from someone who knows. Someone who cares. And gets you.

Lets talk! Do you have a writing community? Do you need one?
Tell us about it.


Wendy Paine Miller said...

So excited to see you, Cathy.

And I couldn't agree more, having a community has become a vital part of writing for me. Who knew? But it seriously has changed the climate for me in the best of ways.
~ Wendy

Jessica R. Patch said...

I couldn't agree more! I don't know what I'd do without the writing community. It's truly and amazing experience! :)

Karlene Petitt said...

We are in this together. Community is so important and I'm glad to connect with you. My critique sisters and I love to reach out and be part of this writing community to support and help all writers reach their dreams. I guess we're all dream catchers together!

Thanks for being great! And, we are honoring you with the Versatile Blogger Award!!! Congrats!

Jan Cline said...

Yes, I joined Mick Silva's Your Writers Group online and have enjoyed that. But I long for a face to face group. I lead a small group of my own, but I'll be looking for one that will take me to the next level. Have fun at the conference!