Tuesday, June 29, 2010

No Writer Should be an Island

The concept of the reclusive writer is a long held-stereotype--and personally, I think it's outdated. Obviously I can't speak for everyone, but I can honestly say that I could not do this journey alone.

No, really--I mean it.

When I write, I log into a special chat--just me and my CP(s) (depending on who's writing that night). We do regular check-ins to stay motivated. If I have any questions, or need a quick brainstorming session, they're there for instant feedback. And I'm there to do the same for them.

It's AMAZING what a difference this has made. I went from having to revise a scene 5 or 6 times, to nailing it in 2 to 3--tops. And I can't tell you how many times I've been stumped on naming something, or ways of wording things--and they've helped me find the answer in a matter of minutes. I really don't know how I made it through a whole draft without them.

And then there's the wealth of knowledge and wisdom at my disposal. Thanks to blogging and Twitter, I've been able to connect with writers at all different stages in their careers. So when I have a question about how the industry works,  or marketing, or writing, I have any number of people I can turn to for advice.

Even better? Sometimes people turn to me. I'm still a newbie--and more than a little wet behind the ears--but amazingly enough, sometimes I have the answers to their questions. And I'm happy to help them the same way so many others have helped me.

Not to mention that the writing community is one of the kindest, most supportive places I've ever found. Sure, its not perfect--and we can't all get along perfectly all the time--but the friends I've made are absolutely amazing. They'll call me at 1:30 in the morning--their time--because they read an email I sent and knew I needed a pep talk. They let me text them on their vacation because they knew I was going through a stressful process and they wanted me to keep them updated. It's actually a little overwhelming  when I think about how much I gain from people, and how little I'm sometimes able to give back.

So thank you. Thank you to my friends and CPs, to anyone who follows my blog or follows me on Twitter or lets me hassle them with emails and questions. Thank you all so much. I really would be lost without you, and I'm so very glad I don't have to navigate this sometimes scary and confusing industry alone.

How about you guys--do you let people help you on your journey, or are you one of those rare islands unto yourself?

31 comments:

  1. I think I'm a bit of both. During times that I need imput I emerge from my little hole - otherwise I'm quite a seeker of solitude :o)

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  2. I need the support but I tend to write on my own.

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  3. I write on my own. But I am in two critique groups. And they help me so much to revise. I totally lose perspective on my own work.

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  4. hahaha...I think right now I'm an island, but I've got this nifty speed boat nearby for when I need company!

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  5. Great post! I like using the Absolute Write website for my feedback group; there's a feeling of safety in relative anonymity. It's funny that you did a post on how no writer is an island--I just posted on how writers are like pirates (fallingleaflets.blogspot.com)--tee-hee!

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  6. Great post. I'm a little of both. I don't like to bother people, so when I'm really in need of help, I'll email Frankie or one of my other CPs. I too afraid of bothering someone whom I don't really know with a question that could be stupid (and yes, I know there are no "stupid questions"). But, since you've just said the door is open, be prepared for some query letter questions down the road1 ;)

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  7. I think prior to blogging I was more of a lone ship. I'd listen to others--who were mainly readers--but my geographic local didn't afford me much interaction with other writers. Now, I've definitely opened up and accepted as much help along my journey as I can get. I think I've only hit the tip of the I-see-burg. LOL.

    And BTW, I've made incredible friendships that I know I'll cherish for a lifetime. They've helped me to branch out, take risks, expose myself. *shiver* But I'll never get to where I want to be if I don't do that.

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  8. I'm so so pleased and happy to know that you are thriving in such a wonderful and supportive community of writers! Good for you! And may you continue to flourish with such a great team!!

    I'm afraid I'm the reclusive type. LOL!!! With a cat!

    Take care
    x

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  9. You are so right! I just wrote a similar post, if you want to check it out:

    http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2010/06/swallowing-critique.html

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  10. Though I'm kind of reclusive, my online community is about all that keeps me sane. We writers have to stick together, because we're the only ones who know the pain and triumphs of the journey.

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  11. I really prefer writing alone, but it's always awesome to be able to turn to others when you have questions about agents or the publishing process or that chapter that just won't cooperate :)

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  12. Man, I love my CP. There's no friend like a writer friend. Hugsies for all of you!

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  13. I love love love my CP's they are wonderful, and I am new to this whole blog community but it has been really helpful getting to know everyone and learning about different journeys.
    I was able to talk with a veteran writer during Pysical Therapy several weeks ago and he still lives on the lonely writer island, but for him it's all he knows and he applauds all of us in the new generation or who can keep up with everything. It was sad to hear him say it was lonely when for me and so many others it's no longer that way. I agree it's outdated, but there will always be those who can write as a "recluse" and do just as well. I'm glad though now there is a definate choice and new avenues to connect.

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  14. I have the support of my online writing community but I live two lives - my writing life and my other life. They don't mix. No one in my other life knows I write and I rarely mention my other life to my writing community.

    I need to write alone. I can't hear the voices when around others. I prefer solitude and would be recluse if given the option.

    CD

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  15. I know you'd be lost without me. You're welcome. Remuneration in the form of vodka and/or mozzarella sticks can be sent to my house anytime. You have my address.

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  16. When I first started writing, I thought an island was the only way to be. This was before I discovered online crit groups and now writer blogs. I couldn't have become the write I am today without them.

    Thanks, crit buddies!

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  17. I love the idea of having a chat while you write! Some of the fastest writing I got done during NaNo was when I had to check in - it kept me accountable.

    I don't keep a chat open, but I do have a group of writers. None of us are published yet, but we're all at different stages; some are querying, some are just starting, some are on their 5th or 6th book. We have a group and send emails, and we have a weekly chat to check in and talk about writing (and life). It's wonderful to have the support and celebrate little victories.

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  18. I'm one of the more alone ones, but I'm hoping not to be forever! The closest critique group is an hour away, and I don't have enough friends who are writing seriously to justify starting anything. :/ But I am making good friends (and receiving good info) in the blog-o-sphere and don't know what I'd do without y'all!

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  19. I love e-mailing my CP with plot problems I'm having. The best thing ever is doing ten minutes of intensive writing and seeing who had the best word count.

    I've been more social with my lastest book then I was with previous books.

    I think it's been very helpful.

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  20. You know my answer to that question better than most, #1. I agree with you 100% - navigating this journey alone is too hard. We don't HAVE to do it alone, because we have the advantage of instant messaging and our glorious blogging circle of friends. Turning to each other provides benefits beyond measure!! :-)

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  21. SO true! I was ready to give up before I met all of you.

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  22. Girl! You know my answer! I am both a singular island and archipelagos!

    You have been an amazing help to me and I only hope I have shared even the tiniest bit of help to you.

    It has been a great ride & I am so glad to continue to still have a ticket for future adventures ;o)

    Visit My Kingdom Anytime

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  23. That's an awesome system, Shannon! *ponders* May have to steal that from you! LOL

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  24. I would not have stayed motivated or as upbeat without the writers blogging community. Everyone is so nice and helpful, I have learned so much more than I ever would have on my own. I also have a great writing group!

    But Shannon, you in particular are so sweet, patient, and responsive even though you must be incredibly busy, that it really makes a difference to all of us who follow you. Thank you for that!!!

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  25. Oh, my heck! I think you crawled inside my brain for a post I wrote yesterday! How did you do that?

    I so agree. Writing can be lonely. But it doesn't have to be. The journey is more fun with friends.

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  26. I love the idea of being able to sign on and write with other people....how lucky you are to have a group of people like that. I agree with Elana...writing can be lonely, so it's important to have good support!

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  27. Thank heavens for crit buddies and other writers who know what we go through! It can be a lonely profession, but through the Internet - it doesn't have to be anymore. Whew!

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  28. No islands here. I need all the help I can get. :)

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  29. I am a semi-island. Perhaps a peninsula.

    Unfortunately, my brain has been all gulf-coasty these past couple months, and I can't seem to get words written.

    I probably need to seek out my crig group and see if I'm still a member.

    EEKspice.

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  30. Amber, a peninsula is an awesome way to put it. I'm definitely one of those. I like to do all the actual writing alone in my room, plugging into my MP3 and apart from the world, but when I'm feeling down or I need help with research or editing, I always have my online writing and blogging buddies to turn to.

    If not for them, I wouldn't know 90% of the stuff I do now about the publishing industry.

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