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Guest Post: Myra McEntire Talks Fictional Friends

Today we have a guest post from the fabulous Myra McEntire, whose debut young adult novel, HOURGLASS, will be out in summer 2011 with Egmont USA. It will also be published with Random House in Germany and Record in Brazil. She is represented by Holly Root of Waxman Literary Agency.
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"But ... my friends ... live ... in there," I said, pointing to my computer.

I made the above statement to someone recently and I wasn't referencing my story world, although with the exception of my family, I spend more time with my fictional people than I do with real ones. I was referencing the writers I've met online, specifically through blogging and Twitter.

As I said the words, I immediately got the ... "oh, how sad" ... look. I let it bother me for about five minutes.

And then I thought about how grateful I am.

When I was close to finishing HOURGLASS, I did my research and surfed the Internet for professional help (no, not that kind of professional help, but if you've written a book you know I probably needed it).

Industry blogs were the answer - first were Nathan Bransford's and Kristen Nelson's, and then Rachelle Gardner's and Janet Reid's and/or Query Shark's and/or Miss Snark's and so on and so forth. I learned a lot of rules about what not to do, and one or two about what I should do.

Build a presence with social media, they all suggested.

All righty, I acquiesced.

At that point, blogging equaled journaling in my mind. Journals expose your deepest feelings, and the good ones are supposed to be private. Kept under lock and key. Shoved under your mattress so your mom can't find them. I decided my blog would not be a journal. It would be more like a ... a newspaper! It would be professional! Provide quality content! Wear a respectable public face!

Yeah ....... no.

As it turns out, what I put out there via social media is who I am, sometimes in an extremely distilled form. It ain't always purdy, but it's honest. And because I am real in these outlets, the people who follow my blog or my Twitter account and interact with me have a special place in my heart.

From everyone who celebrated with me when I got an agent and then a book deal, to moms who offer an uplifting word when it's needed and lovable ladies who email me funny pictures, to established authors who know where I am emotionally and encourage me privately when they don't have to, to the agents and publishers and the entire community, really, who were ALL IN for Do The Write Thing For Nashville when my city was in trouble - the list is endless.

If I tried to count on one hand the amount of actual real-life friendships that have developed because of social media I couldn't do it. I couldn't count them on ten fingers AND ten toes.

What it comes down to is, yes, quite a few of my friends do live in my computer. And in the U.K., Utah, California, Texas, Connecticut, Arkansas, New York City, Los Angeles and Ohio. They live on sun drenched beaches and in glorious mountain ranges and they do everyday things just like I do, and in the course of those days they cheer me on. I do the same for them.

When I see those Twitter announcements and blog posts about landing agents and book deals and selling movie rights and making best sellers lists? When I see pictures of newborn babies and announcements about getting jobs after years of unemployment and shiny new engagements? I celebrate.

Sometimes I cry.

When I see requests for prayer or positive thoughts when people are in trouble, sick or hurt - or when I see someone is down, really down because of life and the curve balls it throws? I worry. And I pray.

No matter where you are or how I know you - social media or next door neighbor - we are living life together. And that makes you at the least an acquaintance. But mostly it makes you a friend.

And for that, I am very, very grateful.

~ Myra McEntire

Kate Hart

Kate is the author of After the Fall, coming January 24, 2017 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. A former teacher and grant writer, she now owns a treehouse-building business in the Ozarks and hosts the Badass Ladies You Should Know interview series.

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17 comments:

  1. <3 Being part of the writing community is like opening a present every day. So many professions require you to be jealous, suspicious and downright rude to your peers/competitors. I wouldn't last a minute in that environment and I'm glad I don't have to. Writers Rock.

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  2. This was so beautiful. Social media can make such a difference to a writer. And you have painted it in vibrant, living color. Thank you for sharing this!

    Martina

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  3. i love every single letter in this post.

    <3 you.

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  4. Maybe I'm just an emotional wreck today (highly possible), but this literally made me tear up. For a long time, I believed that writers were a competitive, cutthroat bunch and I was TERRIFIED of trying to reach out to anyone. But I am so glad I finally made the plunge and joined the writing communities online. YOU ARE ALL AMAZING.

    Thank you, Myra, for the wonderful post!

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  5. I feel exactly this way. Without social media and blogs and the internet, I wouldn't know some of my favorite people in all the world. :)

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  6. What a wonderful post! We're very grateful for you too sweety! My friends are in my computer, I love that!

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  7. Thanks for a wonderful post. Twitter friends, writers and non-writers, are awesome! The encouragement and help I receive each day is priceless.

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  8. I'm pretty much going to parrot what Sarah said ^-^. I don't think a day's gone by since I joined the writing community online where I haven't felt super, super blessed to know the people that I've met through my blog, twitter and AW. They're some of the most amazing, kind and giving people I've met in my life and having people like, that aren't just cheering you on in writing, but in *life* is such a huge blessing. <3

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  9. Thanks, y'all. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who's connected with others this way. Thanks for having me, YA Highway. You're a special bunch of peeps!

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  10. very sweet, I do the same thing. I loved this post. Well done

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  12. What everyone said.

    I went years when all I had for writerly support was waiting by the mailbox for the next Writer's Digest. To be able to turn on the computer and know someone's going to have posted something funny, interesting, helpful, or all three, and I can jot back some friendly comments, just like we were hanging out at a coffee shop...

    Well, I'm very thankful.

    Solitude, competitiveness and grief are the unavoidable lot of a writer only when there is no organization or network to which she can turn.
    - Toni Morrison

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  13. And this right here is why I heart Myra SO MUCH! It's so true--this community is so inclusive and I've made more than a hand/footful of friends who I think will be in my life for a looooong time!

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  14. :D Hand/foot full of friends. *giggles* Glad so many of you feel the same. Like I said before. I like repeating myself. Makes me feel official.

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Item Reviewed: Guest Post: Myra McEntire Talks Fictional Friends Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kate Hart