One of the best decisions I ever made was to be brave and attend a writer’s group meeting at my local library. That one small act of courage (okay, maybe big act of courage) led to an even more important, life changing decision – joining my local chapter of the RWA.
Up until that time, my writer’s journey had been riddled with fits and starts. I even stopped writing at one point, largely because I couldn’t seem to finish anything (see my post – Finish What You Start ). Sad to say, it was several years before I completed what eventually became Ascension. My characters weren’t about to let me go so easily. They lurked in the back of my mind, affecting my sleep and making me feel guilty!
Tormented about what to do, I began surfing around the web and found Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld Forums and the writer’s board. There, I found the outline methodology that finally broke me out of my funk. I plotted, wrote and finished my book. I was so excited. For the first time in years, I actually slept better.
Then, came the hard part. I knew that if I wanted to pursue publication, I had to let someone read my book. Gasp!
Doubt, fear, panic all ran through me. And a boat load of what ifs: What if it’s awful? What if my chosen reader doesn’t tell me the truth? Will I end up like all those poor deluded American Idol wannabes (“but my Mom says I’m awesome”).
I asked one of my good friends, someone I knew who would be honest with me, to read my baby (and I’m forever grateful to her!). Once I got over that initial hurdle, I took a flying leap off the cliff and went to a meeting where I didn’t know anyone. After that, I was doling out my book like cards at a poker table. The other great benefit- I met my fabulous critique partners there.
And by fabulous, they tell me the hard truth, they encourage me to challenge myself, they praise when deserved and we all keep each other going. And when you join an organization like the RWA and it’s local chapter (did I mention mine is awesome), you aren’t on your own anymore. Everyone understands what you’re going through and you can benefit from the wisdom of both published and unpublished authors alike.
Let’s face it, when we write, it’s a lone act. But you don’t have to be alone on your writing journey. Join a group, find trusted readers and get yourself out there. You never know who you will meet!