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You don't have to be lonely

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The internet has made it extra easy to connect with other writers, both published and unpublished.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.
Kaitlin Ward

Kaitlin Ward is the author of Bleeding Earth, Adaptive Books 2016, and The Farm, coming 2017 from Scholastic.

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  1. This is so true. People to get you through the rough patches and cheer with you when things go right. Not to mention, how very much you can learn from one another.

  2. *wants a dark attic to write in*

    What can I say? I adore my writerly friends (who have become so much more than writerly friends - er, in a totally innocent way, of course). They have made this whole journey vastly more wonderful than it otherwise would have been. Get some writer friends, build a community. It's invaluable.

  3. Spot on :) Writers who blog/twitter have created such a fantastic, supportive community - it's nice to be understood further than the family members who say "great job!" (and really do mean it) and then turn back to whatever they were doing...

  4. So true! And I think it's equally important to maintain relationships in the real world, too. If you isolate yourself from friends and family, not only are you going to be lonely, but you won't have much to write about either. I love to brainstorm new ideas with my sister, or go hiking with a friend and realize that this is the PERFECT place to set my WIP. The internet has made networking so awesome, but it's just as important to network in life as well.

  5. Very very true. It's just necessary to have a group of people that understands why you dedicate such a big part of your life to something that you very possibly might never make a penny from.

  6. well-said, kaitlin & also michelle -- novel-writing is such a weird, almost uncomfortable thing to explain to anyone who's not a book-lover. I admit I only filled in a select few friends & my immediate family about my clandestine affair with fiction, until my book deal. that's why my writing group has been such a blessing... not only supportive, but in complete understanding of the intensity and the disconnect from non-writers and the difficulty of attaining the dream (but also the necessity of pursuing it!) because we share that same passion.


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Item Reviewed: You don't have to be lonely Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kaitlin Ward