Monday, September 22, 2008

People Who GET It

Seeing as this week’s topic is This and That, I had to think a little harder about what I wanted to talk about today. Since this weekend is Maumee Valley RWA’s (my local chapter of Romance Writers of America) annual brainstorming/writing weekend, I decided to talk about people who get it. Because if you’re a writer, having other writers in your life isn’t just nice—it’s essential. Like breathing air and drinking water essential. Seriously.

Writers are a curious breed to non-writers, and even if these non-writers are amazing friends, supportive family members, or even interested neighbors, they’ll never GET IT. At least, not like other writers do. I didn’t realize how essential having writing peers was until I finally started showing up at the monthly MVRWA meetings on a consistent basis. I’d been a member for a little while, paying my annual dues each year, and sporadically I’d make an appearance.

But then, I decided to start going every month, and I discovered that around these other writers—I could be myself. THEY understood when I said something strange like “My heroine is yelling at me,” or “My characters are ignoring me and they’re doing what they want to do,” or even “So…what’s the best way to kill someone and have it look like an accident?” No freaky stares greeted me, no dropped jaws, no furtive glances around the room (you know, in the hopes someone normal would come along).

And just as they get me, I get them. Let me tell you—this group of ladies (and Tony and Jim) are the greatest group of writers I know. The best thing is, if you’re in MVRWA—it doesn’t matter where you are in your career, whether you’re writing your very first book or your zillionth, whether you’re published or trying to become published, whether you’re agented or unagented, we’re all writers—and that’s what counts. And actually, from what I know, most writers groups are like this. At least the ones in RWA.

About a year ago, on one of my many writing loops, a writer questioned if joining their local chapter was worth the money. My answer, obviously, was “YES!”But what do you do if you’re a writer and live in a rural area, without a local writing group nearby? Or you have small kids and don’t think you’ll be able to make the meetings? Luckily, there are many online chapters of RWA (and I’m assuming of other writing organizations, as well), so even if you live out in the middle of nowhere, the Internet makes connecting with other writers a breeze.

So, my advice to all writers everywhere who haven’t discovered how amazing, supportive, freeing, and downright awesome it is to be a part of a writers group is to get involved, meet other writers, find a group of people you can be yourself with. People who GET IT! Not only will you learn a lot, but you’ll help others too, and you’ll find it easier to stick to your writing goals—because guess what? Now, with a writers group, you also have some accountability in place.

And how lucky am I? Because with my new pals here at The Novel Girls, I have another group of fantastic writers I can be myself with, and that makes me happy. Very, very happy!

My goal for this week is simple. I want to get a large chunk of writing in, so come this weekend, I can stay for the entire event and immerse myself in talking about writing, brainstorming with my friends, and breathe!

Wish me luck!


Maureen Lipinski said...

I completely agree! I'm in the middle of some horrible revisions right now, and it's so comforting to know that there's other people out there who understand when I want to throw my laptop against the wall and bang my head against my desk.

Jillian Cantor said...

Your writers group sounds great! I wish I had something like that nearby. But thank goodness for the Internet and our group. I agree, it is so nice to have people who get it!!

Tracy Madison said...

Maureen: I've definitely had moments like that! I always remind myself it's part of the process, but um...that doesn't make it feel any better, does it?

Jillian: If you ever need to talk writer talk, I'm here for ya. Just let me know!

Lesley Livingston said...

It is comforting, isn't it?

Heck - somedays I don't even get it.

lisapatton said...

Tracy, I longed to meet another writer the whole time I was writing my first book. And I mean loooonged to meet one. I'm so happy to have my new writer friends. Thank you!

Tracy Madison said...

Lesley: Um. Today would be one of those days for me. Seriously weird stuff happening in my head!

Lisa: We're glad to have you too! Writer friends are sooo necessary. I can't say it enough, lol.