Author buddies, unite! Maybe that’s a bit melodramatic, but I can tell you now it’s great to not be doing the writing journey alone. Writing is often referred to as a solitary occupation, but over and again I’m reminded as a writer of the value of being in a writing community. After some of the conversations with budding writers over this past weekend at Oz Comic-Con, I wonder if this is something we can sometimes take for granted. (For more about the Oz Comic-Con experience, drop on over to my blog.)
For those who are a little (or long!) way down the writing/publication road, can you remember being a newbie writer? That feeling of uncertainty, that sense of not knowing if you’d ever be published or if you were even good enough to be published. Ever. Add to that the steep learning curve of honing the craft. It can be a daunting mountain to climb. Once you’re published, there’s that rapid realisation (if you didn’t know beforehand) that the hardest work’s about to begin, with continuing the promotion and marketing you’ve been doing in the lead up to the release of your literary baby.
Let’s face it. Writing can be a tough gig, and unless you’re super famous, it’s not exactly the highest paying occupation … Now imagine doing that journey alone.
I love my writing group. You and I both know how much they feature in my blogs, and for good reason. They’re not only loyal and encouraging friends, but they’ve single-handedly (okay, multi-handedly) organised book launches, catered for workshops, offered financial counsel for events and got their hands dirty on many occasions to make writer gatherings a success. They’re also happy to act as critique partners and general champions of my writing, even when that book baby feels waaaay overdue. Yay for them! 😊
But the writing community reaches farther than that. Consider beta readers and editors, and let’s not kid ourselves. (Take it from someone who was a closet writer for over a decade.) If we’re not getting feedback on our work, firstly with critique partners, then with beta readers, our writing will never be challenged and it will never develop. Add to that the stroke (or 2000) of an editor’s pen, and you’re well on your way to improving your work. I don’t know any story that isn’t made better by a good edit by someone who isn’t being paid to stroke a writer’s ego. True, it can be painful, but it’s totally worth it in the long run.
What about publishers, or author services if you’re an Indie writer? Wow, that’s also a tough gig. How grateful I am to be guided by someone who knows about and takes care of ISBNs, distributors, bookstores etc. (Perhaps we should have ‘hug your publisher day’?) Hat off to those who do it themselves … although, if you’re in a community, you can also bounce ideas, problem solve etc. All the better when there's someone who can warn you about the pitfalls of vanity presses and such.
Where would we be without books stores and readers? There’s nothing quite like meeting new people in a bookstore or writing event generous enough to host you, and having the privilege of introducing potential readers to a story you’ve written. Even better is when those readers contact you or write a review to say how much they loved your work. (Oh, don’t forget reviewers!)
Long and short of it? Thank you for being part of my writing journey, and that of many other writers too. Whether we’re the equivalent of writing adolescents, grandparents, toddlers or newborns, we can each be a significant step in making someone else’s publication dream a reality. Pretty cool, right? Let’s never underestimate our part as writing community members. Now go forth and write!
Adele Jones is an award-winning Queensland author. She writes young adult and historical novels, poems, inspirational non-fiction and fictional short works, along with juggling family responsibilities and a ‘real job’ in the field of science. Her first YA novel Integrate was awarded the 2013 CALEB Prize for unpublished manuscript. Her writing explores issues of social justice, humanity, faith, natural beauty and meaning in life’s journey, and as a speaker she seeks to present a practical and encouraging message by drawing on these themes. For more visit www.adelejonesauthor.com or contact[@]adelejonesauthor.com