Monday, November 2, 2015

Being Friends with Other Writers

Friendship, Collaboration, Wine, and a Sefie Stick
Writing is a mostly lonely business. No question about it. There is an equation to writing that looks something like: time x solitude + quiet = words on page. For an introvert, which many writers are by nature, that solitude part can be a relief from our daily tornadoes of activity. For me, writing is my legitimate excuse to shut my door, tune everything out, and focus.

I suspect the solitude is much more difficult for the extroverted writer. (If you doubt this creature exists, I invite you to attend a writers' convention and watch the lobby bar for signs of existence. Usually they are standing and holding court in the center of other introverted writers that are drawn to their spectacular energy and oration skills like moths to a flame).

In either case, introvert or extrovert, the requirements of being a writer, one that actually does the physical writing part of being a writer, can leave you feeling a little like the lone inhabitant of your own private writing island.

Mostly, this is great--so much writing gets done on the island! But sometimes, even the introverted writer needs some company.

For me, developing and nurturing reciprocally supportive relationships with other writers has been a huge benefit.


These people as a collective have so much information. It's through my writer friends that I've learned about techniques, events, opportunities, the list goes on and on. Furthermore, I've had the pleasure of sharing my ideas, my knowledge, and the joy of engaging in crazy town conversations about characters, plot, and settings no other people in my day to day existence could possibly tolerate.  

Starting these relationships can be hard, especially for introverts, but there are so many places and opportunities for these friendships to take root. Maybe it's through your critique group, or social media. Maybe it's attending writer's conferences and offering to volunteer, or simply striking up conversations. No matter how these relationships with other writers begin, it's important to fan them a little and help them grow. Getting to know and sustaining genuine relationships with other writers is enormously beneficial to your continued, and rapid, growth toward improving your skills.

At first, it can feel hard and awkward. I know this. But keep showing up, keep reaching out organically by attending events, shaking hands, contributing to the conversations that surround the writing community. The friendships that develop will bring you a unique joy because it exists between two people, or a group, that share a passion for an activity most people in your day to day life cannot fully understand.




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