Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Develop Friendships With Other Writers


I am fortunate to have many friends. I like the poster shown here today but it doesn't cover my range of friends, as they are of both genders and also those who write and those who don't. Which as it should be. I wouldn't want every one of my friends to be a writer, but...

...I do think it's beneficial for writers to develop friendships with other writers. Think of the great conversations you can have, the commiserating over the difficulties of the writing life and the shoulder to cry on when needed. If you have a great success in your writing life, all your friends will be happy for you, but another writer truly understands the excitement and the enormity of what has been accomplished.

That old saying about walking a mile in another man's shoes to understand him works well with your writer friends. We have traveled the same paths, met the same obstacles and rejoiced the same when success comes our way.

One of the best ways to develop friendships with other writers is to go where they go. How easy is that? A writing conference is the perfect place because you're literally surrounded by a sea of people who write or are interested in writing. Common ground! I've noticed that by attending the same conference each year, I've widened my circle of writing friends. By accepting the invitation to be a workshop presenter, I've noticed that more of the other writers stop to visit with me or ask an opnion.

Another place to develop friendships with other writers is a critique group. Most meet on a regular schedule, whether weekly, monthly or quarterly. If you're in a room with the same people every time, relationships are formed. You get to know the others well enough to feel comfortable asking for an opinion or suggesting two of you meet for coffee later in the week. Relationships develop into friendships over time.

It even works with an online critique group like I'm in. I know and work with about 25 other writers there. I've developed close friendships with several of them, especially ones I've met face to face at our conferences. These people know how you've struggled to improve your writing. They know about your rejections and your acceptances. They know whether or not you are open to helping a fellow writer when asked. It stands to reason, that the longer you know a writer, the easier it is to nurture the friendship.

Am I bosom buddies with every writer I meet? Of course not. It's no different than making friends in your out-of-writing life. You're attracted to some people more than others. Those are the relationships you work at. Making a friendship thrive takes some effort on both sides. There are some people you click with at first meeting while, with others, the friendship grows slowly or perhaps not at all.

I am well aware that some people make friends more easily than others. If that's the case for you, work at it slowly with one person at a time. Don't hesitate to ask another writer to have coffee or a coke with you or whatever.  If they don't respond positively, move on and try again. Another old saying works well here, I think. To make a friend, you must be a friend. That needs no more explanation from me.

With the vast land of social media at our disposal, we have one more place to make friends with other writers. There are any number of writing pages and groups on facebook. Join one or two or three and start posting. You'll get to know people pretty quickly. Some will draw you to them more than others. I consider many writers I've met this way as friends even though we've never met face to face, never had the opportunity to give a reassuring hug to one another.

Friendships with other writers will enrich your writing life.


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