Wednesday, March 10, 2010

5 No-Cost Steps to Begin Your Journey as a Writer: Part Four

So far, in Steps One, Two and Three we've covered Writing incessantly, Reading voraciously, and Starting a blog to share your work.

Step Four is all about support.  You've gone and relied on yourself for strength and courage and put yourself out there, and although it's not that scary anymore, it may feel a little lonely.  Writing in itself is a solitary activity so you're going to need to get together with people who "get" you.  Yes it's fun hangin' with the guys or the girlfriends but most of them probably aren't going to understand your frustration in your character that just up and died on you.  That conversation would probably go something like this:

Friend: "I don't get it-just don't write that he dies-I mean you're the writer, right?"

You: "Yeah, but I can't just change it-he DIED!!"

Friend: (look of confusion flashes across his face) "Yeah, okay." changes subject, never asks about your writing again.

You need help.  You need support.  Step number Four is join a writer's community!  There are innumerable sites online of writing communities, in every genre imaginable.  They're free, they're easy, and most importantly, they're fun.

However, don't limit yourself to online writing communities only.  For one thing, you're still technically by yourself.  Joining a writing group in your local community provides a couple of things that online groups don't.  For starters, they get you out of your office and away from your computer.

If you have family responsibilities, figure out a way to make it work.  This is a great step towards making your writing a priority.  I know, from personal experience, that as a parent it is really hard to say, "I'm not going to be available tonight, I'm doing something completely for myself."

You may even have to spend money because you need a babysitter-and that is hard to do.  But let me tell you something, as your child grows up hearing, learning and accepting that mom or dad meets with a group of writers to discuss their writing, they are going to pick up and learn the value of reading and writing.  In essence, by valuing your passion for writing, you are doing your child a great service.

The same thing can be said for relationships.  When your partner needs to pick up the slack that you leave behind, or deal with not having you for a few hours, not because of work but because you value your passion, they will be reminded of why they fell in love with you and their respect for you, as an individual will grow.  By following your own dreams, you are also giving them permission to follow their own dreams.

If you're in college, the same thing applies.  If your friends aren't in the literary world, they may balk at first when you give up Wednesday night pub crawls, but they will respect you and learn that maybe there's more to life to explore than dollar draft night.

Most importantly, what a good writing group will do is give you support by reading your work, sharing their experiences, and understanding you.  You will soon learn that you are not alone!

One thing to consider about your writing group is that it's a good fit for you.  Publishing Consultant Laine Cunningham has a really good piece of advice.  In regards to a feedback group, she says, "It is critical that they be as passionate and hardworking as you so you can support each other."

I'm thrilled that Laine recently answered some questions about publishing for Musings. 

Please take a moment now to sign up for email alerts for new posts.  You don't want to miss this gem of publishing advice coming soon. 

I'm curious, have you joined a writing group yet? If not, what's holding you back? If so, what do you like about the experience? Any negatives?

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