Don't Go It Alone

A sunny Wednesday morning here, after an admittedly impressive storm hit NY / NJ last night. My agent flew in from the UK yesterday, amid the noise and chaos of tornado warnings and lashing rain, but all is now well, and I'll see her tomorrow. Very excited about that. What a strange world that I can live in a different country to someone, have so much communication, even enter a contract, and not meet them for months.


But writing is an especially odd profession / hobby / inclination / madness. It's solitary in a way that many jobs could never be. In between the editors, the agents, the bookshops and, hopefully, the fans, there are hours - days - weeks - months - (years?) - of typing away by yourself.

Maybe even in one of these awesome writing sheds:

Personal favourite, right here
The trick is not to go mad. Well, madder.

Community is important. Not just a lifeline to the normal world of friends, family, mortgages, bills, grocery shopping, etc. I mean the community of other writers, who share struggles, understand problems, have links and tips and other friends they can send your way.

This is where our modern world, with the net and digital worlds and less barriers every day, really comes into its own. Can't encourage you enough to make sure you're plugged in. 

Twitter, Facebook, this very blog, other blogs, Query Tracker, Absolute Write, SCBWI  ... those are just some of the ways I keep in touch with writers, editors, agents, etc, and then meet new writers, new editors, new colleagues. There are writing competitions (Writer's Digest runs small ones every two months), writers retreats, conferences, online 'webinars' (I do not like this word), and every combination of these, and more, under the sun.

Don't go it alone.

Don't go mad. Don't get lonely. Most important, don't ignore the support and inspiration and encouragement and love of people you might never meet, but who will care about you, about your writing, and about your successes. You should care about their careers, too. 

Writers are creative types, and most are doing it for the love, not the money. But that can mean staying inside your own head for far too long, or even getting a bit too much into the worlds you create. Who's going to understand that? Other writers. No, it's not an exclusive club, and no, writers aren't special people with special problems ... but you're going to get limited sympathy if you try to pull off that complaint with someone who doesn't care. Community is the life support you need to make it in the tough world of books, I think.

This article from Guardian Books is a bit worrying: Ebooks Price War Sees Price Cuts of 97%. Seems like the future's only going to be tougher for you / me / us. Best to stick together, eh?

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Absolutely agree with you, the writing world opened right up for me when I signed up for twitter, and I know I'd never have gotten to this point otherwise (or "met" my agency bro, either!)