Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Connecting with Other Writers

This morning Alison Kent has a wonderful post over at GenReality about critique groups and crit partners and such. It really got me thinking about this lonely business of writing, and whether I'm doing enough to connect with other writers. I mean I don't belong to any writing organizations, I don't network on writing forums or other such sites, and I don't go out into the world to visit trade shows or writers' groups or conferences.

In some circles, this inactivity would be the kiss of death for a writing career.

Sometimes I consider doing some of these things. I've even joined a couple online writing things. I was very active in two of these, and if you've been around this blog long enough you know how those turned out (which is to say, not well). I still belong to a couple that I haven't really been active with, but probably should (if I can even remember my passwords after all this time). I've thought about joining RWA or ITW or something like that, but I just can't seem to muster the interest necessary to fork over all that money.

Instead I blog. I visit dozens of writerly blogs every day. I communicate via comments, and on occasion email, with other people in the profession. But is that enough?

You know every time I think this through, I ask myself that question. Sure, I have a couple of awesome beta readers (Hi guys!), but that's as far as that goes. I had a crit parter I met at one of the writing communities, but she disappeared last year. (Literally. One day she just stopped replying to my emails. No reason why. No 'it's been fun, but it's over' note. Just silence.) My BRs are doing an awesome job, but listening to everything around the net, it just seems like I should be doing more.

And then I look at Lynn Viehl. I don't know how many books she's published now (seems like it was around 35 the last time I looked), but she seems to do very well sans the whole 'getting involved' portion of the biz. She doesn't attend conferences, or trade shows, or participate in writing groups. She just writes - and very well I might add.

So what's a girl to do?

I guess I just keep on keepin' on. I write, I edit, I learn from my mistakes. I read other people's blogs and learn from their mistakes. Sure I'd like to have a half dozen people I can trust to read and comment on my work - if only for the sake of validation. (And yes, even hermits like me could use a little validation once in a while.) I love to have an awesome crit partner like I used to have - someone to bounce ideas off of, and kvetch to, and sympathize with - but in the whole scheme of things, it's not necessary. Because in the end, the only person capable of writing my books is me. Connecting with other writers would be fun, but when the books ever get published, they're my responsibility.

Anyway, I still have the blogosphere and all the wonderful people I've met here. You're all helping me whether you know it or not, and I'd like to thank you all for that. Hopefully I'm helping in my own way, too.

What do you do to connect with other writers? Do you have live people you connect with, or is it all online?


Kristen Painter said...

I have both real life groups and online groups. I'm about as connected as a writer can be, I imagine.

You could hang out at Romance Divas. It's free, so not a big commitment there.

B.E. Sanderson said...

RD is one of the places I'm a member to, but have never participated. I'll have to spend more time there and see what's what. Thanks, Kristen.

JenWriter said...

I'm all over the place online. Blogs, AW, Facebook and Twitter. I've been to a couple of conference type things, and I'd love to go to more...but I can't afford it right now. I'd love to do RWA Nationals, but I doubt I can make it this year.

But this is just a thing I like to do to stay connected. I'm home in front of my computer all day, and these online groups are ways for me to keep contact with people! :)