Writers are, by nature of the work, solitary creatures. Often introverted. We also tend to take daily baths in insecurity, self-doubt, and impostor syndrome, with just a dash of self-flagellation. In fact, we marinate in the stuff. It’s really easy to feel like you’re all alone and to begin questioning so much about yourself and your work.
One of the ways to combat the inevitable soaking is to reach out to your community. The thing about writers is that almost all of us wallow in a similar version of that dreadful stew. It seems to be the nature of the job. I suspect most creative types share this particular vat of horror. So when you reach out to others, you find shared misery. You discover you aren’t abnormal (or at least you’re abnormality is shared), and that you can laugh at yourself and your doubts. Other writers will boost you up and ridicule your self-doubt because obviously you are a terrific writer and why don’t you know it? Inevitably, we marvel that other writers who are so very good share the same doubts about their writing. It makes no sense. Hearing that helps.
But communities do more than just boost you up. There is shared information and ideas about all sorts of things. From business to creativity to process to general commiseration and sharing joys. I attend a writing retreat where we write together and talk and share in between. It’s the highlight of my writing year.
Community in person is marvelous. I have regular coffee, lunch, and breakfast dates with other writers, not to mention phone calls and whatever other get-togethers I can squeeze in. But I used to live in small town rural Montana. Other writers, especially fantasy writers, weren’t easy to come by. Bring on the internet. I joined forums and loops of writers where we can do most everything you can do in person.
This time of year a lot of people are participating in Nanowrimo. This is a marvelous opportunity to meet writers who are both local to you and who are members of your tribe throughout the world. Nano offers opportunities to meet in person and to possibly find people you want to spend more time with.
It’s really key when you’re a writer not to let yourself become to isolated. It’s also important that you find people who understand what you’re going through and that when you stare into space, you’re actually writing. People who understand when you complain about how your character just completely refuses to talk to you. Or what pain it caused you when you ripped out fifty words or a hundred or a thousand. Or what a triumph just writing a hundred words can be. Or what a starred review in Publishers Weekly means. How exciting that is.
So find your community. Pour them wine, make them pie, and talk about words. Go on. Do it now.
*As we delve into rules of Writer Club, there’s no good order of one, two, three, except as randomly numbered according to me. So this rule will be #2 by virtue of the fact that I arbitrarily say so.