Writers have this reputation for being angst-ridden loners who sit in our dark attics and try to ignore the real world in favor of complete immersion in our fantasized ones. Alright, so that’s an exaggeration, but there is definitely that vision of writers as people who spend more time with themselves than with others. It’s an understandable stereotype, because there’s definitely something isolated about being a writer. Writing a novel isn’t exactly a group activity. Family and friends might be proud of you for having finished a book, but often, they aren’t interested in the least in the process of actually getting your book onto shelves. Or they don’t understand what takes so long, or why you need an agent. And they generally aren’t interested in listening to your rants about how your characters will not behave, or how you’re unsure what to do about this challenging plot hole.
Of course, some people have those super helpful family members who have no problem ripping into their work, brainstorming with them, and immersing themselves in the process. But mostly, it’s more of a distant support.
So it can really feel like you’re doing this insane thing all by yourself.
But you’re not.
The internet has made it extra easy to connect with other writers, both published and unpublished. Forums like Absolute Write are full of them, plus there’s twitter, blogs, even facebook. And I think making these connections is so important. Kristin O. blogged about it from a networking standpoint a while back, but it’s more than just that. Rejection of any kind is always hard. No matter how well you protect yourself, how much you promise yourself you won’t get invested, it’s impossible not to feel the sting at least once. But it’s a lot easier if you have people to talk to, people who understand and can help you get back up on your feet.
And in the reverse, it makes good news all the better, too. Good news is just so much cooler when you share it with someone who knows, really knows, how much blood, sweat, and tears went into reaching your goals.
So don’t sit behind your computer screen all alone, get out there, because you will never know how amazing it is to have people to share in the journey with until you try it.