Friday, May 25, 2012

The Importance of a Writer's Network


My writer friends are a varied bunch, some are published and wildly successful, and others are  writing their first book ever. All of them have an important place in my heart.  Here are some of the reasons:

*They listen to me vent and understand my bookish frustrations.
*They read my work, when it is in desperate need of help, and they provide it.
*They cheer for my successes, and try to shift the blame to other people for my failures. ;D

I can't write down every single helpful thing that my writer friends have done for me (Blogger couldn't handle a post that size) but I will point out a recent big one. A few weeks ago I was trying desperately to write cover-copy for Rape Girl and I was STRUGGLING. I kept being gently, and then not-so-gently, dissuaded from the route I was taking, but I just couldn't find the right approach.

Then my friend Janine, who has never read my book, but who was trying her best to help anyway said, how about something like: "Valerie always wanted to be the smart girl. The pretty girl. The popular girl. But not the rape girl."  And the chatter stopped instantly because we all knew it was "right". So simple and so brilliant, and nothing I could ever have come up with on my own. I was too deeply entrenched in the story.  Lucky for me, Janine could see the forest for the trees and after her fabulous suggestion, the rest of the copy fell magically into place.  I really believe it's made all the difference to the book's appeal.  

 I'm so lucky to have a group that wouldn't let me settle for anything less.

If you are a writer struggling to find a support-network, forums like Absolute Write Water Cooler and Verla Kay's blue boards are good places to start.  I met the girls from my private forum on the Old People Writing for Teens thread on Absolute Write. (As an aside, this small group has had 3 members sign with mega-agents just this month--it's sizzling hot over there!)

Once you find a group be sure to try your best to give as much as you get and share thanks and credit wherever they're due. (I try to do that, but still feel that more often than not, I'm the one left holding the loooong end of the stick.) We have to build each other up because sometimes it feels like the business is all about tearing us down.

To all my writer buds via forum, blog, email and social media--you know who you are--I adore you guys. Thanks for being in my life.

Cliché













PS. So sorry for the failure to put up an Empowerment Project post on Monday. I'd just returned from running a conference over the weekend and was nearly comatose for 24 hours. Ah, the life of an introvert...

<333

16 comments:

  1. Yay for writer's groups!!! And for your copy, which came out so wonderfully. For those who don't yet have these vital people in their own writerly lives, agent Mary Kole's blog www.kidlit.com offers critique love connection match-ups periodically, as does author Maggie Stiefvater on her Facebook page. Go find your people!

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  2. It is really nice that you have that support. You remind me again how much I need a writers group. Thanks for the links to try out :)

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    1. Thanks for being one of my writing buds, Michelle. And, yes, a group of crit-partners and sounding boards is an awesome, thing. :)

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  3. I agree: it's very important to have a writers group (or three!) either IRL or online. Hooray for Janine for coming up with that great blurb for Rape Girl!

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    1. Thanks, T! It was really great when she did. And you're so right, it doesn't matter whether it's in person or online, both are great.

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  4. Writer's groups rock!! To those who don't have one, definitely start hanging out at AW, offer crits, make friends. It's well worth it. I'm so excited for Rape Girl!!!

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  5. xoxoxoxoxoxoxxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxxoxooxxooxxooxxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

    that is all.

    :D

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Eesh, clumsy fingers. What I meant to say is XO times infinity, Mel. ;D

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  6. <33333 Awesome post, Alina! LOVE YOU!

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    1. Back atcha, Sweets. Couldn't do it without you girls.

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  7. LOVE this post!!!! Writer friends are the best kind!

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  8. I so agree, Tameka! Speaking of, will I see you in LA again, writer-friend? :)

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  9. Recently found your blog and love it. Where can I find local writer groups? I'm on the verge of publishing as well, and I'm thinking it's about time to find a group.

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