Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Join or Go It Alone?

"I'm going to tell you how it works. It's about hills and valleys. Anybody can handle the hills, but you find out who you are when you hit the valleys." Count Basie to Quincy Jones

Are you a joiner? Do you prefer solitude?

Did you ever see "The Net" with Sandra Bullock? That movie struck terror in the hearts of all those who work in solitary at home. Solitude is great, but there are times when we need face-to-face fellowship.

I used to be a world champion joiner--three bridge clubs, garden club, book study club, church women, home extension club, newcomer's club. Then, when I decided to really apply myself to writing and being published, I quit everything but church women and joined writers groups with the zeal of the newly converted. And went to confernces and conferences and conferences. I saved notes by the bale, bought CD's, and shelves of how-to-books. If it would have helped, I would have left a book under my pillow at night hoping I'd absorb something in my sleep. Not that any of this is wrong, mind you. Well, the book under the pillow is dumb, but feel free to try the rest.

I still belong to quite a few writers' groups. Know why? Writing is a solitary profession. I sit in my lovely pink cave at my computer most of the day. Lucky for me, my Hero and Darlings 1 and 2 are very supportive. But sometimes, I need to talk with other writer who've had sales and rejections of their own.. They understand me. I don't have to worry they'll think I'm crazy when I say these people in my head keep telling me to write their story and won't shut up until I do. No one calls the doctors with straighjackets when I say I see the opening scene of my work in progress (WIP) as if it were a movie in my head. Writers understand that's normal for us . . . well, as normal as we ever are.

So the answer to my initial question of "join or go it alone" is: Both. Yes, I join online and face-to-face writers groups. Yes, I sit alone in my lovely pink cave as I write. Those who nurture us help us through the valleys of rejection. Those same friends rejoice with us when we are at the peak of success. My groups are Yellow Rose RWA, Dallas Area Romance Authors, Hearts Through History RWA, and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal RWA, and the other The Wild Rose Press authors. I've made writer friends in each of these--friends on whom I can depend for truth about my work if I ask for a critique. Friends I'll treasure the rest of my life.

Are you in a lonely occupation? What do you do to survive?

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