Thursday, February 12, 2015

Writers Need Writer Friends

Jennie and Molly

This looks like two women on vacation, doesn't it? They are more than that. They're two writers who are at a conference just outside Washington, DC in a beautiful state park on the Potomac River. I was there, too, but it was me who took the picture. Not only writers, they are my friends, too.

Jennie lives in Atlanta. Molly lives in Bluffton, SC.and I live in Kansas. All three of us are members of an online writing group. We've critiqued one another's work, commiserated over rejections, celebrated successes and have sealed the bond of friendship as we did all that. We've roomed together in one of the cabins in the state park where our group conferences are held every 18 months. We've held deep discussions about writing (and other things) over a glass or two of wine. We email and connect on facebook. 

I would never have known these two wonderful women had it not been for the writing group I joined a good many years ago. I've heard and read so many times that writing is a lonely occupation. Believe me, it doesn't have to be. You need to develop professional and personal relationships with other writers. Writers understand other writers. Your friend who is a nurse may be a very good friend but she won't have the inside track to much of what you feel about your writing world. In reverse, you might be a wonderful friend to her but you can't possibly understand all that goes on in her nursing world either. Keep that friendship alive but you need others, as well.

I'm a believer in having friends from all walks of life but I also know that my friendships with many other writers have been mighty beneficial to me and my writing world. Only last week, when I had the question about my story being published in two Chicken Soup books and knowing about only one--well, my writer friends gathered round like mother hens circling their chicks. They were there to protect my feelings, to encourage me to pursue the issue and to cheer when it all turned out fine. I loved having my writer friends by my side. 

If you're in a local writing group, work at the friendship end. If you belong to an online group, interact both within the group and offline via emails. If you go to a conference, seek out other writers who seem to be moving along the same lines you are. If you belong to facebook, find writing groups there to join. I belong to a few and put my blog posts on each site. Within time, I've gotten to know some of the other writers in the group. One group in particular has lots of discussions which helped me start to interact with them.

Friendships don't just happen. You must work at developing and keeping a friendship. I've learned so much from other writer friends and I'm grateful for that. Maybe I've offered something to them, too. I hope so. If you're a shy writer, start with just one person and move on one at a time. I know that some people have a difficult time making friends. Not everyone is a gregarious person like me. 

I'm going to see both Jennie and Molly in mid-April when we all travel to our conference once again. We'll talk about projects we're working on and also about our personal lives as we've gotten to know a lot about one another's family life over the years. 

If you don't have a lot of writer friends now, make it a goal. You'll reap the benefits if you do.