The Writing Community

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.

Why?

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 Writers are notoriously insecure, especially the unpublished ones, and I’ve seen published writers attacking unpublished writers for no apparent reason.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?Β 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.

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8 thoughts on “The Writing Community

  1. That sounds awesome, and I’d love to be linked on your community page. I hear you on…everything you said in this blog. I started a branch of the Nashville Writers Meetup for sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal/insane-o writers that ended up being super successful even after I moved away, and that was by far the most supportive and encouraging, quirky and goofy group of writers I’ve ever been associated with.

    But I digress. The groups I went to before that were often judgmental and super harsh; they also tended to be disdainful of genre fiction, specifically the sci-fi/fantasy realm. Unpublished writers need (and deserve) some edification and CONSTRUCTIVE criticism rather than those who fancy themselves Grand High Poobah of Writerness who wag their noses in the air while telling you that you suck.

    So go, go good energy and light! πŸ™‚ Writers need the good juju.

    1. Oh and by the way, my NaNoWriMo username is emmiemears, so if they get the writing buddies section up and running, do find me. πŸ™‚

    2. How did you about starting a writers’ meetup? And how do you make sure you have a savory blend of writers? I think I could conduct an entire interview with you on that subject. Maybe I will some day…

  2. Nice template work. You copying my ideas? πŸ˜›

    I mainly don’t become involved with writing groups as I don’t yet consider myself a writer yet. Sure, I write and all, but I’ve yet to finish any of my major projects. They’re always “Work In Progress.” Yes, I was published in my school’s writing journal (for my specific program), but I don’t consider that big enough.

    Basically, I feel that I can not proclaim myself a writer and author until I have proven myself in some way. It becomes embarrassing to say you’re a writer and have to meekly shy away from “what have you written, anything I’d see, magazines, books, etc?!” So until I have that major credit, I can not claim to be a writer.

    As a result, I feel intimidated by writing communities that contain actual, published professionals as I’m just a lowly wanna-be who is a step between fanfiction author and conspiracy theory blogger (though I do not write fanfiction). Yet, on the ohter hand, I find myself not participating in the friendly community of my NaNo region. Though I don’t have the self-esteem to be in circles of professionals, I have an arrogance and pride that I carry with me around other people (mostly women in bars). I know tricks, tips, ideas, and such that have come from painstakingly writing nonfiction throughout my educational career. Things I’ve picked up from early morning StumbleUpon sessions of writing tips I carry with me. The books I’ve read containing essays on character and motivation have added to my writing toolbox (even the phrase Writing Toolbox is from a book). I’ve GIVEN advice that was beneficial to the one who asked for it. I’ve had someone become so enraged at me at a suggestion, only to have them come back later and say “You were right. It didn’t make any sense for the character to do it this way.”

    My ego grows. People view me as a pro, but I am not. I am caught between two levels of skill caused by my self-worth and my self-doubt. I don’t want to come off as being full of myself, and I don’t want to be seen as amateurish either. So that’s why I avoid Writing Communites.

    But you can totally link to me if you want πŸ™‚

    1. I’m totally copying you. But my blog is pretty and girly.

      Actually, I’ve been planning a remodel for about a year, and the combination of thinking about it and having spare time between How I Met Your Mother and Castle last night led to me finally doing it.

      I’ve actually been thinking about what you said a lot lately, and I’m planning a blog post on it. Since I’m going to write that soon, I’ll give you the short version here: a writer writes. You write, you take your writing seriously, therefore you are a writer.

      1. This could all be a ploy for attention to show that I’m deep and troubled, a tortured artist. In fact, I’d say there’s a 40% chance that that’s what I’m doing.

        But I don’t know for sure because I’m paranoid πŸ˜€

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