I remember when I first started writing….
It was my first book, and I had no idea if I could do it. All these ideas flew in and out my head at random times of the day. I saw my characters everywhere – there was Jenna, in the shape of a blonde girl ordering ham at the deli aisle in the grocery. There was Sam, a scruffy-faced guy on his way to the beach. There was Lola, a tiny woman with frizzy red hair gassing up her car at the local Wal-Mart.
I felt crazy.
I wanted nothing more than to be at my computer, writing, all the time. I heard voices in my head, the voices of my characters coming to life. I’d obsess over a scene, lose myself in a simple written conversation.
There was no way to tell if this was normal, or if I’d fallen into a rabbit hole from which I’d never return.
So I started poking about online. I told myself I was researching book publishing; really, I was trying to find a place to go with people like me. People who heard those same voices and obsessed over words in the same way.
I found my first writer‘s group when I signed up for an online class about the publishing industry. Eight people from around the country came together under the guidance of a fabulous teacher. Through the use of Skype, we were able to hear and see each other. We knew each others’ faces, gestures, frustrations. We laughed – a lot. We learned – a lot. And when the class was over, we kept in touch, cheerleading and commiserating.
I don’t know how I would have survived the early days of my publishing journey without that group. I didn’t have to explain the writerly things to them…they simply understood.
Since then, I’ve found a few other fantastic groups. The lovely Spellbound Scribes are one – we support each other on the hard days, high-five each other on the good ones. I’ve only met one of the girls in person, but several are quickly becoming good friends.
I have another group, too. A tight-knit group of email-philes. We’ve none of us met in person, but they are my friends, my favorites, my dears. They know without me even having to tell them the trials and tribulations of the publishing world. They know when I’m rejected; they know when I’m accepted. They know about me personally, too.
These little groups of people are incredibly important to me as a writer. Writing is a lonely career on which to embark. Everyone says that, but unless you’re doing it, you don’t actually know it. And other writers? They get it. They get how much it hurts when you get rejected on that project into which you poured your heart. They get how much you want to get something right, so bad it hurts your brain. They get how many hours you spend thinking about a character, a plot point, a setting.
They just get it.
So…if you want to be a writer and you don’t have one already…get you to a writer’s group. If you can’t find one, let me know. Maybe you can borrow one of mine.