Do you ever feel like you are being watched over or protected by unseen forces (other than divine providence)? Lately, my circle of writer friends have given me answers I didn't realize I sought. Someone's post, comment, or e-mail gave me direction before I could ask, like an a-ha moment. It helped me realize how valuable a connection to the writing community is.
Why should you as a writer care? The time will come when you need a beta reader, someone to show you how to format your e-book, someone to brainstorm with, a supporter and cheerleader to keep you going, someone to interview on your blog, and the list goes on. As much as an author would love to be left alone to write, she becomes a public figure in a small or large spotlight. He must deal with promoting himself.
I recall when I was content to stay in my own writing bubble but I've since learned that the more serious we get about our craft, the more we need each other. Contrary to logical thought, one writer's success is not another's competition, just as one good book in a library does not diminish the worth of those around it. As long as creativity is alive, one good idea does not ruin someone else's similar plot premise. No one else can write the book you will write and vice versa. But we can and do help one another along the way.
Developing one's participation in the writing community takes a little bit of time and effort. Here are some things we can do now to reap the benefits later:
1. Communicate with other readers and writers. Use your voice, small or big. Make a blog comment. Ask a question. Ask for feedback. Share an idea.
2. Knowledge. Find an author or two that you like and subscribe to their newsletter or follow their blog. Be in the know with what is happening with the authors you care about. Become part of their community.
3. Friendship. Meet other readers/writers at conferences, online, libraries, form critique groups. Each has something to offer, something to learn, and friends to gain. It's win-win.
Thank you, fellow writers. I hope I can give back.
What has your writing community done for you?