Monday, April 13, 2015

It takes everyone to write a book

Writing is a community sport. Yep, I know most people think of it as a solitary experience. Just you and your computer, and that is true, for the most part. However, what I want to talk about today is how you survive as an author.

If it wasn't for the community of writers and book lovers around me and in the cyber world, I think I would have given up long ago. Not because I had no stories to tell, but because the friendships I've found over the last decade have brought me joy and a feeling of belonging. 

The first group I joined was at the recommendation of my sister-in-law Lauri. She began writing a couple years before me and paved the way. She suggested the SCBWI, the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. This group helped so much in my early days. Through them I found my place in the publishing world. I met editors, agents and fellow children's writers. I jumped 100% ahead of the game and didn't make silly mistakes. I also attended monthly meetings where I slowly was able to recognize faces, so that when I attended conferences I didn't feel alone. This weekend is the Spring Western Washington SCBWI conference. I've missed it the last two years and I'm excited to return and feel the moral support. In the beginning it was all about learning the ropes, now it's about friends.

A group I joined just two years ago has been driving me lately. It is ANWA, the American Night Writers Assoc. A group of women LDS writers that support and encourage one another. These ladies have been the ones that have kept me going after my first book was published and then so little else occurred. I went to their annual conference in February and came away with lifted spirits. What a wonderful thing to feel you're not alone.

The other thing that helps me is writing my blog By posting book reviews, interviewing other authors, researching agents and editors, I feel like I am part of the book world even though my audience as a published author is small. When I look at the semi- success of my blog I am able to feel a sense of accomplishment that is so hard to find. I feel connected to other people and I am able to help out other authors. It really is a community that has kept me going. I encourage authors out there to find writing groups and participate. It doesn't have to be a critique group, just an author group. Find the support you need in others. Leave comments on blogs. We who write them are eager to connect. Leave reviews for books. Reviews help out so many authors. We all take a part in the writing world.

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