“Don’t write your book in seclusion–get a community to support you–a writing buddy, online class, workshop, or a coach can keep you accountable, confident, and supported.” Lisa Tener
I wrote a book consecutively for three years. Then I skipped one. Tomorrow I face what feels like a new challenge all over again: getting back up on a horse named NaNoWriMo and noveling into the sunset. There are some things I have to do before I hit that dusty, noveling trail. Other than gathering supplies like plot ideas, time, and an endearing character or two, I’m thinking safety in numbers. I’m not looking forward to riding alone. I’m rounding up my posse.
Naturally I began with calls-to-action in my writers group.
The writers group. Some writers love ’em and some say they don’t need ’em. I personally need ’em. The deeper I get in writing, my introvertiness becomes less of a shawl and more of a skin–a thick, impenetrable skin. I don’t have much to talk about if we’re not talking about the craft (or something I saw on the internet while procrastinating the craft). The adverse effect of this is that I have TONS of creative energy, and I have simply found that my writers group is the perfect place for me to recharge my “social” and utilize this energy to inspire other writers in my community.
However, the wrong writers group is hazardous to your writing health! You may become elated to discover that local writers are making a push to organize the writers in your area, then leave every meeting with plans to set fire to your whole body of written work. If this happens, there is a sequence of things you really must do.
1. Leave. Leave and NEVER go back. Stay friends. It’s okay. The group just wasn’t right for you.
2. Meditate, write, THINK about what parts of the group worked for you and what didn’t. Determine how a writing group could most benefit you. While you’re at it, think about ways you could contribute to another group of writers.
3. Look for other writers groups in your area. Hang out at libraries, book stores, and little cafes. You’ll find cool people.
4. If you find you don’t fit in any of the established groups in your area, or your area is tiny (like mine) and no other groups exist: START YOUR OWN! If you followed step 3, you will now know a number of cool people whom you met in libraries, book stores, and little cafes who are ready to embark on this adventure with you.
And, supposing none of those things work out, get married. Restricting that for various applicable reasons, go all Anne Shirley and seek your “bosom friend.” If you already have someone at home or close to home who can tirelessly listen to your plot ideas, multiple versions of your query letter in which you literally only changed two words from the previous version, who offers critique and twist ideas that instantly send chills through both of you, who reads your published books cover-to-cover after listening to you read each draft out loud, and then tell you that YOU have talent and YOUR STORIES have potential, DON’T EVER LET THEM GO!!!
In the meantime, join me for Camp NaNoWriMo this July: PomegranatePM! We can keep each other accountable, confident, and supported!