Wednesday, October 8, 2014

When the Lone Wolf Writer Needs a Pack

by Lori Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld

Edie here—I'm so excited to welcome my writing buddy, Lori Roeleveld to The Write Conversation today. Her own blog, Deeper with Jesus in Rhode Island is phenomenal. As a friend, she's provided inspiration, encouragement, and accountability. Be sure to check out her bio below, sign up for her blog, and watch for her upcoming book Running From a Crazy Man!

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When the Lone Wolf Needs a Pack 

When I first took writing seriously, it took considerable effort for me to learn to pull away from others, withdraw into my writing cave, and focus on creating.

I learned to say “no.” I made important decisions about the time I invest in social relationships – sorting through friendships, setting boundaries, and making prayerful choices. I did this because God has called me to write and to write requires a person to develop a comfort level with solitude.

Well, until it doesn’t.

After years of studying the craft, writing sloppy drafts, rewriting, revising, and finally feeling I had something I could share with the world, I popped my head out of my hobbit hole and realized a frightening truth. For the next leg of the journey, I would need companions.

This didn’t used to be an issue for me but now I’d embraced my inner hermit. My social skills had eroded. My stamina for social interaction had atrophied. Yikes! I felt like an Armadillo considering a belly rub. Opening my inner writing world to others required courage I didn’t have.

Well, not on my own.

Whenever I’d needed courage in the past, I went straight to the source: Jesus. So, I knew He would provide what I needed for this stretch of highway. My bravery appeared in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” I set out in search of people capable of lifting me up; people who would form what I now refer to as “the fellowship of the book.”

Here’s what I’ve learned:

First, writers aiming to publish need a tight group of non-writing friends to remind them there’s more to life than making books. My close friends encourage my dream, celebrate my awards, console my rejections, and remind me to come out and play when I start getting dreary (or smell musty). They pray regularly for my writing and for the readers who will eventually purchase my book. They endure my whining pleas to quit without rolling their eyes (too much) and then place my hands back on the keyboard.

Second, I have a group of writing friends who are in a similar place in the journey. We formed an on-line accountability group we call the Light Brigade. Once a week, we check in on a shared Google doc about what we’re reading in God’s word, what writing work we’re doing, our prayer needs, and a word of encouragement to one another. In between, we connect via a private Facebook group. We’re perfect for one another. Low time invest, consistent fellowship, high reward.

Third, I’ve built relationships with experienced authors and editors as well as my agent. They make time in their busy schedules to offer me sound advice, honest critique, and an occasional kick in the pants. Invaluable resources, they are kind sherpas through the mountainous terrain of publishing.

Finally, there are experts to whom I’ve turned for specific skills I don’t do well on my own such as editing, developing my website, branding, marketing, creating a trailer, understanding publishing options, and artwork. As independent as I’ve become, I’ve learned there are times to call in the cavalry and admit I need a more gifted person to help. And yes, the first few times you ask for help, it’s challenging but it gets easier after that.

Phew! And THAT, fellow adventurers, is why every book has an acknowledgement page. Each book is the work of a solitary writer who hunkered down in her cave only to emerge seeking a fellowship of friends to travel with her to goal.

If you’re ready to seek publication, do not fear. Ask the Lord for courage, dust off your social skills, and pop your head up like a gopher. There’s an entire community of us here ready to help you reach for your dreams. Join us on the trail, oh, and bring something to share, we get hungry.

When the Lone Wolf Writer Needs a Pack - via @LoriSRoeleveld on @EdieMelson #amwriting #pubtip (Click to Tweet)

Success for writers comes by surrounding yourself with support - via @LoriSRoeleveld on @EdieMelson #write (Click to Tweet)

Lori Stanley Roeleveld is a disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. Her new book, Running from a Crazy Man (and other adventures traveling with Jesus) releases in December 2014. Subscribe to her blog and receive a free download of “Free to Face the Headlines.” You’ll find Lori at her website or on her front porch writing


  1. Great advice on staying balanced between solitude and the social side of life for a writer. We do need each other, but we also have to know when to say no and return to the hole to write.

  2. Wise words, Lori! Thanks for the reminder to find the balance between the hermit cave and the social circle. I love both parts, but don't do the balance part too well. :-(

    1. Balance/shmalance - do what's needed at the season of the project. Some seasons are for hermiting, others for gathering the team. No one shovels snow in July. :) Thanks, Vonda!

    2. I love your article AND the point you make in your reply here, Lori! I'd never thought of viewing "hermiting" and socializing as seasons in writing. I like that view, since it gives me permission to embrace my hermit self without guilt, at least in the right season. :)

  3. I enjoyed your article, thanks. It is so easy to just crawl into the "writey hole" and ----stay there. Hours seem like minutes when I'm in my--writey hole. LOL

    1. I'm with you, annie. Love getting deep into the creative soup. Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately), I'm not an island when it comes to taking my work the rest of the way into readers hands so, I need the village. And you know what? My life is the richer for it.

  4. Great insights with sprinkles of humor --as usual. Thanks for reminding all of us that we can't stay in our office forever.

  5. Wise woman the take on times and seasons and companions along the way.

  6. I love the reminder about seasons too. I'm not writing as much as I was in a different season, but I'm no less a writer. I'm journeying with a few others, using my skills to equip them better for their own treks right now. Editing keeps me sharp and allows me to bless others. But another writing season is in the not terribly distant future, and I'm gearing up. Thank you for your ever-ready encouragement and wisdom. Ya bless people, lady.

  7. This post is wonderful for any introvert who has to live, work, and function in our extroverted world. Thanks for sharing your hobbitness, Lori. I relate. I loved being a part of the Light Brigade for a short while because it meant getting to know you better.