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.
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...