I guess you can be a writer on your own without the support and friendship of others writers, it’s just harder…and not as much fun.
I was introduced to someone recently who is almost finished writing her first book. She was eager to speak to another writer, someone who speaks the same language. I listened as she explained her book’s premise and fielded her questions, as best I could, on writing courses and next steps. But she wasn’t part of a critique group. I thought back to when I was in her position. It wasn’t long ago, exactly a year since I joined the online writing group at Kelley Armstrong’s forum. I’d finished a book six months prior and didn’t know anyone who wrote, knew nothing of the industry, little fish in a big pond. But connect with other writers who know how hard it is to get published, who understand writing, who will listen to your rants and suddenly the pond feels smaller – or at least more manageable.
Then there’s the critique itself. I won’t even read my original first draft anymore (yet somehow can’t bring myself to delete it). I never imagined how much my writing could change and improve once I let my words loose in the hands of other writers. But how can you tell someone whose baby is about to be born after a long labour that the hard work is just beginning? Tough one.
Then there’s blogging and twitter. More community, more support, more connections to the world I love. All those writerly types out there who share a passion and commitment. So I ask myself…the legendary authors of the classics, the ones who wrote before the age of the internet…how did they do it without the resources we have now? Somehow they managed, it probably just wasn’t this much fun.