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 Fiancé (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/