Writers don’t exist in a vacuum (seriously, toss us into space and we explode just like anyone else), as I’ve previously mentioned isolation can be one of the hardest things to cope with when you spend a majority of your time in a world of your own devising. That’s where other writers can (and usually will) help.
I’ve been writing for years (on and off) but I didn’t become a ‘writer’ until November 2017. A close friend of mine already head a self-published work and was a great help and support in getting me to the point of publication. Another close friend, while I was finalising my first book for release, was putting together an RPG project and sourcing contributors for settings and vignettes and (as well as allowing me to submit to the project) had some very helpful input in the design aspect for the cover. Without these close friends I would have found it much harder to hit my release on time.
Having long-term contacts is a great support, especially when they have prior experience but I’m sure not everyone knows a writer first-hand. In attempting to promote my works I took to Facebook and Twitter but, as well as spreading the message I found the community. There are hundreds of writers at all stages of the process on social media and shared words of encouragement, memes and WIP (Work In Progress) updates can be encouraging to both starting and more seasoned writers.
I haven’t joined a writers group myself, neither have I been to the Writers Retreats I’ve occasionally seen advertised. It’s a personal preference and there is the view that it can encourage ‘writing by consensus’. Either way what I do have is a few trusted readers who preview my work and provide useful feedback.
Personally I think the best move for a starting writer is to hit the Convention Circuit. You can attend the panels, meet new people and then, once you’ve attended an event or two, you might even want to sit on a panel and share your own experiences.
As much as this blog is about seeking support in the community I must confess that some of my most productive days came about on a short holiday I took with my laptop to the South of France (which references back to my blog about looking after yourself). The stereotypical writers holiday I know but there’s a reason stereotypes become stereotypes.
Having contact with other writers and the means by which you have contact can have numerous benefits beside helping the keep you positive. These days having a strong Social Media presence is one thing that’s going to improve your chances at getting picked up by a Publisher. But, in conclusion, I have largely found that being a writer is one of the least competitive lines of work you can undertake. For the most part, the writers who I’ve talked to are only ever in competition with themselves, trying to write the best work that they are capable of.
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