Writing...solitary? Seriously?

>> Monday, August 30, 2010

If you're a writer, and you think it's a solitary profession, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it's not the profession....

I am the first one to agree--wholeheartedly--that no one understands a writer like another writer. And in a circle of friends and family with mainstream careers and past times, say, teachers, rocket scientists, brain surgeons, plumbers and the like, you may feel isolated and misunderstood. But if you're reading this article, you have the ability to never feel solitary again.

Not only are the infinite possibilities of the World Wide Web at your fingertips--an endless array of email, video and text messaging, chat rooms, message boards and social networking sites and services to build a 24/7/365 support network--but you have the ability to utilize that entity to then cultivate relationships that can then transition into the real world. The web is also a fantastic resource for locating groups close to you, allowing you to connect with them, one on one.

I met my critique partner, Elisabeth Naughton, through another writer on a Yahoo board many of you may be familiar with: RWC list. We've been CPs and friends now for 5 years. We talk nearly every day and would be lost without each other, personally and professionally.

Twitter and Facebook have introduced me to a fabulous host of amazingly talented, funny, generous writers who I then connected with them in person at the RWA conference in Orlando last July--editors, agents, NYT Bestsellers, newbies, first-time sellers. I can't even describe how rich my life has become because of these fabulous people.

Through RWA online, I've joined several chapters where I have invaluable resources at my fingertips, not to mention warm hearts, ready support and lots of laughs.

As a writer, I have more contact that I can keep up with. As a writer, I am more connected--and in a more authentic, deeper and more meaningful way, than in any other career I've ever had...and let me tell you, I've had my share.

And I haven't even mentioned all those people in my head!! Oh, and have I mentioned, I'm a total introvert? No excuses left! Get out there!

Solitary profession? I think not. How about you?


Danisidhe 3:46 PM  

I agree about the many places we can meet people and about the resources on the 'net but, Sweetie, I never thought that the phrase "writing is a solitary profession" meant "writers have no friends" lol.
To me, it simply means that it is a profession that is performed alone and, unless you have a writing partner, that's true. Even if you're sitting in a crowded cafe or library, writing is the expression of things that happen in our heads and, so far, only we are privy to that information, we can't delegate it.

There's a thought: "Hey Sexy--assistant-I've-hired, deadline's tight. If you could get this first act finished while I get on with the next one, that'd be awesome. Thanks." :)

Joan Swan 6:33 PM  

Thanks for stopping by Danishidhe. That's very true, no matter how many people you have around you or interacting with you, the words you put on a page are still expressly your own, created in a solitary relationship with your self.

And I definitely like the sexy assistant idea! Thumbs up! :-)

midwinter-az 7:15 PM  

For me, the community aspect came through NaNoWriMo, and it's made all the difference in my writing. There's nothing quite like having others hold you accountable!

I touched on the solitary aspect of writing in my blog post yesterday, too. Popular topic :)

Joan Swan 8:46 PM  

I've heard of the comraderie via NaNoWriMo, although I've never participated. I love those situations and the relationships that blossom from them.

Joan Swan 8:50 PM  

Midwinter-az, Just read you post over at Elipses...Accurate and insightful. Great suggestions for getting through the rough stages. :-)

Brooklyn Ann 1:44 PM  

This is so true. I've made so many more connections and friendships since I've embarked on a serious writing career.
Great post!
Oh, and I love Elisabeth Naughton's work! She rocks!

Joan Swan 7:45 PM  

Ditto, Brooklyn, ditto. On everything! :-)

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