How do you know if you are a rich writer?
If we are rich writers, we use words like Paula Deen uses butter and cream. We liberally pour out our ideas and our vision into our paragraphs and prose. Maybe we add in sweetness and flavor and texture who we are and what we care about in every book. We sculpt our words together like sugary icing roses along a cake and we present our final, finished projects as grand feasts for the world, allowing our readers to savor each morsel and each portion. If we are rich writers, the solitary act of creating is a full and satisfying one.
But I’d like to suggest that more satisfaction that comes when we are connected to writer friends who are making their own sweet compositions.
You are, indeed, rich, if you have written books by the dozens, won awards, and sold many copies.
But you are richer still if you have close friends who coached you along the way.
Every success, every victory, every instance of #AuthorHappiness is just one tiny blip on this long writing journey, that is, quite honestly, a lonely one, but is magnified when it is shared. And the sad, dark times are so much easier with their comfort.
The rejection letters will come. Let those around us buy us a drink.
The 1 star reviews will trickle in. Let those around us say, “They just don’t get your brilliance.”
The doors will close. The publishing house will go under. The disappointments are a given if we choose writer as our identity.
Within a group of writers, you have mentors and proteges, you have advice and warnings, you celebrations and sorrows. You can squeeze each others’ hands and say, “it is scary,” but you can do it. Or, “you are good, hang in there” or “this happened to me once!”
Writers, as tempting as it is to wrap yourself up in a solitary, lonely world with just your characters and your computer as your companions, please don’t neglect the importance of community. Reach out to other writers. We need you too.
1. Get a Mentor.
In Online Writing Groups, such as Facebook’s 10 Minute Novelists, you can meet people who are little further ahead of you in your writing journey. Ask them questions. Get them to read your stuff. Receive their feedback graciously.
2. Join A Group.
By hanging around writers who have the same goals as you, you will learn a lot about craftsmanship, character development, plot, and setting. Also? Hanging out with other writers is just fun. They rejoice with you when you succeed and buy you drinks when you don’t.
3. Take a Class.
Check out your local library, community college or adult education center for writing classes. Some are even online! By working with an instructor, you will be able to get important feedback and grasp concepts you might not through just educating yourself. This link has a list of free and not-so-free writing courses!
4. Be humble and teachable.
No matter how much you’ve written or how many books you’ve sold, there’s always room to improve. And even if you were Pulitzer worthy, you’d still need to know about publishing, marketing, and social media. Be open to learning all you can. Arrogance doesn’t go far in this field.
How do you find other writers? There are tons of ways! But the easiest is to join my group 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook.
Your writing life will be all the richer for it.
Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement, and community.