We all know the three Disney characters above have been friends for longer than some of us have been alive. This picture reminds me of a major benefit my writing world has brought to me. More friends than I ever imagined!
We have friends from our childhood, high school and college years, friends in the places we've lived and live now. But I can add an entire other group. I've been writing for just over twenty years now and the number of people who have crossed my path with respect to my writing world would make a very long line if they stood shoulder to shoulder. Of those people, a very good percentage are ones I consider as a writing friend. Definitely one of the blessings in my life.
How did they become part of my writing world? For one thing, we all have a common interest. We were brought together through writing conferences, chance online meetings, critique groups and word of mouth by other writer friends.
When I first started writing, I knew that having a writing buddy would be helpful to me. I heard a casual remark one afternoon about a woman who wrote picture books. I wrote down her name and then pursued finding her phone number. I called her and introduced myself as a newbie writer looking for someone to trade cititiques with. "Would you be interested?" I asked. I sensed a hesitation on the other end of the line, and why wouldn't there be when a perfect stranger calls and asks to become part of your life? Finally, she responded that she'd meet with me and talk about it but then went on to tell me how busy a person she was. I knew it was a good out if she felt she needed it. We met one afternoon, we clicked, and we spent the next 3 years critiquing each other's work. I learned a great deal from her. We kept in touch after I moved away, less and less as the years go by, but I still consider her an important writing friend.
I have made many writing friends through my state authors organization when attending the district and state meetings. The state authors website has helped to re-enforce those friendships.
The people in my International Women's Critique group online have become solid friends, especially those whom I've met in person at our conferences. We are in touch through our group website on a continuous basis and I interact with many of them in one to one emails. They are always there for me when I need advice or a shoulder to lean on when rejection letters abound, and they're cheerleaders whenever a success happens related to writing.
I've met more writer friends through the anthologies that I've written for. We commiserate or rejoice together online, whichever the need might be. Meet one writer and somehow you end up meeting other writer friends of hers, too. Not to leave out the men. I have made friends with many male writers over the years, too. And I do consider them real friends. One of them did something for me once that was so kind and unexpected that I cried like a little kid over it.
I've made friends with writers who are readers of my blog. We've never met face to face but they are good friends, people whom I care about. We became friends because they took the time to make comments about a post now and then. I replied, they continued--it's how friendships take seed and grow.
Never take friendship for granted. It's a true treasure, something to be savored, even cherished. I've found that to have a friend, you must be a friend. Also that friendships die unless they are nourished. It's up to you to do that.