Musings

Do They Have a Twelve-Step Program for This?

We writers tend toward solitude, especially when we work. Writing takes focus and dedication. Becoming a professional writer can be a huge commitment, one that I sometimes treat as seriously as a marriage. It takes work to be a good writer. As such, those of us who were bit by “the writing bug” can find ourselves shackled to our computers, typewriters, and notebooks, eschewing the outside world for the more interesting landscapes and characters in our imaginations. We’re addicted to words.

I’ll stand up and be the first to admit that I have that problem. However, I also know that writers need and have to step away from the words and interact with other writers.

It can be a hard first step, especially for new writers, to take your work out into the world for critique (and sometimes criticism). It can be terrifying for an aspiring wordsmith who worked so hard and passionately on their craft to talk to people who seem so much more successful than they are, who seem like they don’t care about what you have written. Self-doubt is a demon for many creative people, and it’s one of my personal ones too. And it’s the same for many people in these industries.

So I’m here to tell you, wonderful, creative writer that you are, that you are not alone. You are welcome with open arms and compassionate ears. We’ve all stood in your shoes at one time, and we would love to help you take the next step in your journey as a writer.

That’s the big first step, the scary step away from the safety of the page. And why should you take it? Why talk to other writers? Simply this, is there any other person better suited to understand your fears, worries, triumphs, trials, and dreams as a writer than another writer? We know the struggles. We know the successes. And we are here to help each other.

Where can you find writers? Everywhere! Don’t be afraid to join a writers’ club or organization, which function as mentoring organizations to help grow and foster writers. Critique groups are great ways to get practical, specific feedback on your stories.

Feeling ready to spread your wings? Writers’ conferences and showcases happen throughout the year in places all over the country. Both are fantastic opportunities to connect with other writers of all levels of experience, learn new things, and build connections that can be extremely valuable.

This is a community, and we are all here to help build each other up into the next wave of talented word-weavers. So set down the pen for a bit (after I finish this one scene between my hero and the shaman) and get to know the best community ever–the world of the writers.

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