Pay It Forward

Writing is a singular activity. You find an empty room and close the door or take your laptop to a cafe where nobody knows you so you won’t be disturbed. For the long hours that it takes to create a story, you are by yourself. This isolation is what makes the larger writing community so important. No matter how understanding our non-writing spouses, friends or family can be, if they are not writers they can not totally understand what we are experiencing. Fortunately, whether you live in a busy city or in a house that sits alone down a long country road, you can be a part of the writing community. There are local groups or online groups that you can rely on to advise you, commiserate with you or celebrate with you. And to be a true member of the community, I believe, you must be generous with your support.

A number of years ago I attended a writers’ conference and received some great advice from author Roxana Robinson. She told us, as writers, we should buy the literary magazines that might some day provide a home for our own work. Because, how can we expect others to support publications that send our stories out into the world if we don’t do it ourselves?

In my experience, writers are very supportive of each other. Though we may differ as individuals, we share the common bond of being engaged in the same daily struggles. A few years ago, I met Annie Kelleher, author of the Shadowlands series, at a writers’ meetup. Though we had just become acquainted, she offered to help me with a query letter I was struggling with. Recently, Nicole Blades, author of the soon to be released The Thunder Beneath Us, mentioned me and my book in her newsletter. So, I try to pay it forward by writing reviews for the books I read, and offering help to fellow writers when I can.

Yes, writing can be a lonely occupation, but I know that I am never alone.

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