I love my writer friends.
I have several now. Some are just twitter acquaintances who tweet little gems of wisdom. Some are well-recognized, writing world powerhouses, whose capacity to blog profoundly helpful and hilariously funny gold mines is beyond impressive. But this morning I am specifically thinking of three amazing ladies who saw me hiding in the corner at DFWCon two years ago. Call it kismet, karma, or providence, these lovelies scooped me up and said, “You’re a part of our pack.” They’ve included me in their writing pursuits ever since, and I will be forever grateful.
When I entered the labyrinth that is writing, I discovered you need people around you who will tell you the truth. Your mama is probably going to tell you your MS is genius, and she always knew, ever since your first ‘How I Spent My Summer’ essay in third grade, that you would become a world-famous author. As much as we need a mama’s love and encouragement, that’s just not going to help. It makes me think of all the people who have tried out for American Idol and made fools of themselves because their mamas said they sing like Whitney Houston, when they really sound like a dying cat (not that I have any personal interaction with a dying cat–but I can imagine).
Cue writer friends. They know what you are pursuing. They read books on improving the writing craft. They stay abreast of writing competitions to enter to help build writing experience and add legitimacy to a query letter. They tell you the truth and make you a better writer.
If you haven’t surrounded yourself with writing friends yet, you need to. They will make the difference between an interesting exercise in putting words on paper and a story that isn’t cliche, overdone, or a plot-less, hot mess. Yes, they will tell you the truth. But you CAN handle the truth, and you need it.
If you’re just starting, may I suggest a few big names to follow (not even close to a complete list but some of my faves):