Monday, February 8, 2016

Helping Each Other Out by Diane Burton



One of the great things about a writing career is the wonderful people you meet—in person and online. Writing is a solitary occupation. We hide in our caves, writing away all day. To our families, it looks like we’re doing nothing. When I’m staring out the window, I don’t see the mounds of dirty snow or gray skies. I’m plotting who will be the next victim. Only another writer “gets” that. And only another writer understands when we hit a wall and can’t write.

A couple of years ago, I discovered the Insecure Writers Support Group. It’s a combination blog hop/therapy session. Our purpose is “to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!” Once a month, we talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. We discuss our struggles and triumphs and offer words of encouragement for others who are struggling.

Last Wednesday, I wrote about how my writing was in the doldrums. Like sailors in the ocean without wind, I was stuck. I hadn’t written anything on my current WIP (the 3rd Alex O’Hara book) since the beginning of November. I can attribute some of that to finishing the edits on The Case of the Fantastic FiancĂ© (2nd Alex O’Hara novel), getting it published, then promoting it. Then there were the holidays, being in Arizona for six weeks, returning home, recovering from jetlag, and getting acclimated to cold and snow again. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

From past experiences, I know how helpful the IWSG members were, but I was blown over by the help and encouragement. From butt-kicking (definitely needed) to simple suggestions like open the file and read what I’d already written. So I did just that. I opened the file. Since Thursday, I’ve written over 2300 words on The Case of the Meddling Mama. Wow. All because some kind writer said open the file.

IWSG isn’t the only group of writers who support and help each other. A fantastic group called Authors Helping Authors (many of the Roses belong to this group organized by our own Alicia Dean) share tweets and Facebook posts about each other’s books. We also share triumphs and defeats, cheering and commiserating. I also belong to an RWA chapter, Mid-Michigan RWA. We meet face to face as well as online. Another place where writers help each other. Sometimes, just by listening. Each month we (those who want to) do a modified version of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). We set goals and report in. There is something about others knowing your goal that makes you add an extra push to complete it. Again, we're there to cheer each other on and help each other up.

I truly believe if not for the support and encouragement of the members of these groups (and others) that I would have given up by now. Sharing information, celebrating, offering shoulders to cry on and pats on the back. 

What would we do without these wonderful people?

Diane Burton writes romantic adventure . . . stories that take place on Earth and beyond. She blogs here on the 8th and 30th of each month and on Mondays on her own site: http://dianeburton.blogspot.com/ 

 

19 comments:

Margo Hoornstra said...

As another member of those marvelous groups you mentioned I can attest to the support factor. A couple of sayings come to mind. Kind of an upbeat take on misery loves company. Or, even better, success breeds success. Glad you're back at your writing again. Way to go!

Rohn Federbush said...

Thanks, Diane and Margo. You've motivated me to search for my Yahoo password for AHA, ask to join February Nano, send out more agent requests (I'm in the E's) for St. Joan's Architect on Mont Saint Michel, and make notes for editing my November NaNo memoir-novel Home from the Woods.

Diane Burton said...

Thanks, Margo. I think you're right about success. It felt so good to add to the story that I kept going.

Brenda Whiteside said...

I don't belong to the groups you mention, but I have two groups of critique partners who are much more than critique partners. The encouragement and butt kicking they off gets me far.

Diane Burton said...

Rohn, good luck with your agent search. I'm glad you feel well enough to get going again.

Brenda, critique partners are gems. They really know us, our strengths and weaknesses, and can be so motivating.

Jannine Gallant said...

Groups are great at supporting us when we need a tweet or a vote, etc. etc. Knowing we have a place to go to for support is a huge help. I also agree with Brenda. Critique partners are key when we need a push (or shove) in our writing--or just someone to complain to! All these writing relationships mean so much!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Yes, groups of writers help. I have a small group that allows me to whine and answers my questions. I no longer have critique partners. They're busy with their own writing and I send them too much too often. We'll see how this book goes before I hunt for other CP's. Great post.

Lucy Naylor Kubash said...

You're so right. It is often the inspiration and encouragement we get from other writers that keeps us plugging onward. I know it has definitely helped me get closer to finishing a book I started over ten years ago.
P.S. I love the titles of your mysteries!

Tamara Narayan said...

Joining the IWSG has been wonderful for me in terms of blog traffic and getting a publication. Now that's support!

nicolefittonauthor said...

Good call Diane, it's so important to have a good support network who you can turn to come rain or shine. I find it really uplifting to know that people are there ready to support you. Great news that you opened the file!

Susan Coryell said...

Author collegiality is definitely a bonus helped by electronic communications and social media. I have so many cyber-friends and i truly feel I KNOW them. Thanks for a positive post!

MJ Schiller said...

To quote The Beatles, "I get by with a little help from my friends!" It can be a lonely business without other authors to be there for you and for whom you can be there. And we learn so much from each other in the process. Thanks for sharing, Diane! I also find it helpful to prime the pump, so to speak, by going back over my finished work. Best wishes for all your writing!

Diane Burton said...

Jannine, absolutely right about writing relationships.

Vonnie, it's great having both the small groups and the big ones. Even in the big ones, you get to know some of the people well. Good luck with a new critique partner/group.

Thanks, Lucy. The names have been fun. In fact, I had the title for Meddling Mama before I had a story. Good luck with that 10-year-old story.

Tamara, IWSG has been so helpful all along--not just this month.

Nicole, what goes around comes around. I've certainly found that out with my groups.

Susan, my cyber friends are such a blessing.

MJ, I should've guessed you'd come up with the perfect song lyric. LOL The Beatles had it right.

Alison Henderson said...

I don't know where I'd be without other writers. Oh yes, I do--I'd be sitting around bewildered and unpublished. I don't have a local writers' group anymore, but I do have the constant support of online writing friends. I'm so glad you opened that file again, and your muse bowled you over, Diane!

Diane Burton said...

Thanks, Alison. I feel so lucky to have found all of you. Your encouragement means so much.

Rolynn Anderson said...

What everybody said. We need friends who understand us, because people outside of writing don't have a clue what we go through. The help I got when I first started writing, including a woman who heard my idea about a novel and said: If you don't write a novel around that plot, I'll buy the idea from you. That's the kind of boost we all live for!

Leah St. James said...

Great message, Diane. When people ask me for tips on writing, I always tell them to join a writing group for all the reasons everyone else has mentioned. :-)

Diane Burton said...

What a boost, Rolynn. Even after 20+ years in the business, I'm still amazed at the generous of fellow writers.

Leah, I give the same tip.

Alicia Dean said...

Well, it's rather ironic that I would be late to comment on a post about the support of writer friends [hanging my head in shame]. Lovely post. I'm so glad you found AHA and ISWG. I agree, the support of fellow writers is invaluable. Congrats on your progress!