First of all, yes, I’m writing this instead of my book. Whatchu gonna do, come to my apartment and smack me?
Someone really should come to my apartment and smack me.
But the nice thing about having writer friends is they can tell when I need a smacking and when I just need to complain for awhile. Complaining is part of the process, after all.
The trouble is, I don’t have that many writer friends. I have a few here and there who exist, best I can tell, inside of my monitor and the pipes of the internet. I’ve never met them in real life. I also have a few old friends who write fiction, but most of them now live in the computer too. (I really should charge rent.) I live in a college town full of artsy types, but I’ve never gone out and sought a writing group.
Writers can be cynical, mean, and just plain bitchy. And I know what I’m talking about: I’m perfectly capable of being cynical, mean, and bitchy. And the internet makes it worse. The inability to see a person eye-to-eye seems to unleash some people’s inner nightmare newspaper editor on the night before printing — and I know what I’m talking about there, too. Writers are notoriously insecure, especially the unpublished ones, and I’ve seen published writers attacking unpublished writers for no apparent reason. Are they discouraging future competition, maybe? It seems like many would-be critiquers try to stifle their insecurity by attacking others. “Maybe they won’t notice how scared I am if I scare them first!”
We’re the Batesian mimics of the artistic world. We act like tough, scary editors so the real tough, scary editors don’t eat us. Or the wimpy writers act like tough writers so that tough agents will think we’re noxious. Okay, it’s not a perfect metaphor.
So it’s really nice to see the NaNoWriMo community and the playfulness it engenders. We’re all crazy to do this, so let’s support each other’s craziness! It’s definitely an enabling, herd-think attitude, but it’s refreshing all the same. I’ve seen a lot of it in the NaNo forums and on blogs lately, but I’d really like to see it all year round.
To that end, I’d like to start a “Community” page filled with links to other writers’ blogs. A little cross-traffic will help us all, and we can all use the page to find someone who will listen to us complain.
So, if you are a writer, particularly a writer of sci-fi or fantasy, and want me to link to your blog, drop me a note in the comments. I’m not promising an instant traffic bump, but I’m also not asking for a link on your page in return. Call this my attempt to bribe the universe–er, to earn some good karma.