Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Indie Tuesday—It’s Vitally Important to Have Writing Friends

by: Jessica Keller @AuthorKeller

Probably one of the biggest lies you'll ever hear as an author is that writing is a solo endeavor. That's simply not true. I’m here today to let you know that in order to be successful as an author who is traveling any publishing path, it’s vitally important to have writing friends.

Have you ever wondered what The Lord of the Rings stories would have become without C.S. Lewis' influence on Tolkien and likewise for Tolkien's input for Narnia? I do. When Lewis formed his writing group (The Inklings) that met within the Rabbit Room of The Eagle and Child pup, did they know their words and discussions would change the world? Or where theylike usjust dreaming of stories together?


I hear the outcry: But I’m an introvert. Why do I need writing friends? Where do I find writing friends? If you’re an introvert, welcome to the club. Most of us are, but that doesn’t minimize our need to connect with others in this field.
Why do I Need Writing Friends?
From personal experience I can tell you that I wouldn’t even be published without my writing friends—they’re that important. These are people who can help you when you’re stuck in your plot, will tell you when a character’s motivation needs to be beefed up, and will spend a week going back and forth brainstorming with you.

This is most of my critique group (we're missing Edie!)
You need writing friends because they’re the only ones who will ever truly understand what’s going on in your head. My husband is incredibly supportive, but he’s not a writer. He encourages me but can’t understand the concept of being woken up by a character at 2am who needs you to write a part of their story right then. My writer friends get it and on most nights I can find one of them awake at 2am and we’ll race each other with our word counts.
Writing friends understand the industry. These are people you can go to for candid advice when you’re deciding if your story is a better fit for the indie path or for trade. You can go to them in confidence and ask hard questions about if they’re able to live off their writing income and they’ll share with you what worked and didn’t work for them as far as marketing goes.

Other people who write know what is on trend for writing styles. Sure, I have people in my life who love to read. But they don’t know why an action beat is preferred to a speaking tag and can’t always spot a head hop. My writing friends on the other hand…they’re like hawks, finding the weak parts in my story and making it better.
Most importantly my writing friends pick me up and dust me off when I’ve had a hard day, when the rejection letter shows up in my inbox, and the mean review drags down my book’s numbers. I have threatened to quit writing a hundred times and a hundred times my friends have encouraged me to continue.

Where Do I Find Writing Friends?
Online: We live in a social media world and a really positive part of that is being able to connect with people who share similar interests.
We all became friends online before meeting each other.

  • Interact with authors you have read and respect (you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to become friends with published authors—most of us love finding more people who love writing).
  • When you are sitting down to write tweet about it using the tags #amwriting and/or #1K1Hr – these are tags for people who are actively pursuing writing. Search those tags and begin conversations with people.
  • Join writing groups on Facebook and other online forums (there is a very active 1K1Hr writing group on FB full of CBA writers who are beyond encouraging and help each other with critiques and brainstorm).
  • Leave comments on writing blogs. Seriously. That’s where other people serious about writing will be hanging out but they don’t know about you until you leave a comment. I’ve become friends from commenting on blogs—more often than you think.
In person: While most of us are introverts it’s still a good practice to make face-to-face connections.
  • Join a professional writer’s group (I’m a member of ACFW and have made friends both on the email loop and at my local chapter meetings).
  • Become a member of a critique group. People always tell me groups are difficult to find but they’re meeting everywhere. Even in your corner of the world. Do a Google search for “writing groups” linked with your town name. Or search Meetup.com—there are thousands of writing focused groups on there.
  • Attend a writing conference. Honestly. This one is the biggest for me because so many of my friendships have started or been strengthened by spending time together at conferences.
What ways have you found writing friends? Have any suggestions that I didn’t list? What do you believe is the most important aspect of having friends who understand the writing process?

TWEETABLES
Indie author Jessica Keller, @AuthorKeller shares why it's vitally important to have writing friends! (Click to Tweet)

Are you a lonely writer? Indie author, @AuthorKeller shares where to find good writing friends. (Click to Tweet)


Jessica Keller holds degrees in both Communications and Biblical Studies. She is multi-published in both Young Adult Fiction and Romance and has 100+ magazine and newspaper articles to her name. Her latest release is a Young Adult Fantasy - Saving Yesterday. You can find her at www.JessicaKellerBooks.com, on Twitter @AuthorKeller, on Tumblr, or on her Facebook Author Page. She lives in the Chicagoland suburbs with her amazing husband, beautiful daughter, and two annoyingly outgoing cats that happen to be named after superheroes.

11 comments:

  1. I'm a beginner, and this blog is beyond helpful! Thanks so much for sharing about the importance of writer friends. I'll remember.

    Maureen Puccini

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maureen, I'm so glad we're able to help here! Thank you for taking time to stop by and comment, Blessings, E

      Delete
    2. Thanks for stopping by Maureen! Writer friends are so important -- I'm glad you're starting right by reaching out to others and finding information. I'm excited for your journey and I know I speak for Edie and Charity too that you're welcome to follow us on Twitter and ask us questions along the way or do so on this blog. That's what we're here for :)

      Delete
  2. I can't imagine my life - writing or otherwise - without you in it, my friend! [That almost came out my fried - but you speak type ;)]. I'm so proud of you!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Carol! And back at you. I'm so blessed to walk beside you in this journey and you've been a main one to cheer me on when I thought about chucking everything and walking away from this industry all together.

      Delete
  3. Jessica, I agree totally! We need writer friends who have our backs, who care enough to tell us how to fix our writing and who pick us up on the bad days! I wouldn't be where I am without my writing buddies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen and amen! If this post helps one person not feel alone in this writing industry then I'll be very happy. Feeling like you have no one to ask questions to and/or no one who understand the process is rough.

      Delete
  4. Thank you for this post. I was feeling very sorry for myself for not having any fiction writing friends when your timely advice about finding some came along. I so appreciate you sharing your tips!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad to hear it Erika - let me know how it goes. I really have found that writers welcome other writers with open arms. I really encourage you to check out the Facebook group #1K1hr - its a great place to start and I consider it one of the most encouraging places on the web for writers (the people there go over and above to be amazing and friendly and approachable).

      Delete
  5. I came to follow Edie because I have soooo wanted to go to the BRMCWC since it was recommended to to 3 maybe 4 years ago. Every year it falls at a time when we are putting field crops/garden crops in, or I'm out of money or both...kind of funny, but not really...but I am so glad to have begun reading these posts. I was 'encouraged' a few years back to continue writing by some writing reviewers. They said, 'why, from where you're located you can go anywhere'. (We live close to an interstate, and they were really saying, "why, you live in the middle of nowhere, and in order to get anywhere, you MUST go somewhere...". Living in the middle of nowhere means it is so good to be able to glean and share from others.

    ReplyDelete