Monday, October 20, 2008

The Lonely Writer... Not!

Writing is often thought of as a lonely profession. I know when I first started it certainly seemed that way. I eagerly read through my copy of CWIM (Children's Writers and Illustrators Market) and a few available books on how to write for children in an attempt to understand this crazy world of writing for children (and trying to get published doing it). But mostly, when I wrote a story or sent a manuscript out to a publisher, I just felt alone.

Thank goodness things have changed!

In recent years, I think the options for writers to connect to one another have expanded, and it's definitely up to us as writers to take advantage of the amazing opportunities that are out there.

From joining SCBWI to joining critique groups (both in-person and online), and from attending conferences (don't miss the Highlights Foundation Writer's Workshop at Chautauqua!) to chatting about writing on the computer (don't miss Verla Kay's Blue Board and the childrens-writers yahoo group!), I have grown to be a part of many communities of writers.

Each of these communities is wonderfully supportive and has helped my knowledge and confidence as a writer to grow.

If anything, my problem is now the opposite of the lonely writer. I have to be careful not to spend so much time hopping from opportunity to opportunity without spending enough time doing my main job... writing!

I'm curious. How do you connect with other writers? And how do you balance between connecting and writing?


  1. Glad we're not alone anymore! I don't know what I'd do without the great community of children's writers and illustrators that I've found online.

  2. Our critique group is what gets me through the dark times (and the good times). The writers online are wonderful also, but I don't spend that much time online. I have found that I'm not disciplined enough to log on, read, comment, and get off. Procrastination is easy enough without the internet!

  3. I do like the online connections in our writing world, but I agree they present a problem. It's too easy to spend an hour or more clicking around the blogs and websites.

    I have a number of blogs bookmarked and instead of checking each one every day, I rotate through the list a couple at a time and try to limit myself to around 15 minutes a day.

  4. I'm sure that our critique group is the reason I'm still writing. I need structure to help me along, and meeting twice a month keeps me grounded in what I want to do. Not to mention the invaluable help in bringing a story to life.

    The online community has also been an incredible resource. The generosity of fellow children's writers is, I think, unlike any other industry. The information and support found through message board's like Verla's is incredible.

    I also take great comfort from the universal dark side of writing. There is a great posting on Youtube of Joyce Carol Oates discussing her process. She mentions that the first six weeks of writing each book are terrible for her. How she hates everything.

    Sometimes surfing the internet leads to gold.

  5. Frankly, I don't know how anyone can write books without being a member of a critique group. I find it essential--for the comraderie, for the exchange of information re agents/editors/conferences/etc., and especially for the critiques.

    I haven't had much time to spend online lately, but Vera Kay's thread about ms. response times (from agents/editors) is really helpful--not only to find out the avg. wait for subs. but also to get tidbits on what particular agents/editors are looking for. Comparing notes with other writers who are submitting to agents/editors is invaluable--it helps take me out of my lonely bubble.

  6. Hey Guys, Thanks for all the responses! Blog comments are yet another thing that makes it hard to feel like a lonely writer anymore. (Of course, blogging-- like all writing socializing-- can easily become addictive. Aah, to find the balance...)