Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Friends

I've always thought of the act of writing as a solitary activity.  Although I'm a fairly social person, I also covet my 'alone' time.  The time when I can go deep within myself, whether I am daydreaming, meditating, or writing, is pure bliss for me.

When I began my course at the Institute of Children's Literature, I learned about the Writer's Retreat where past, present, and prospective students could go for information, homework help, and general support.

At first, I stalked the forum and like the shy student that I am, tried to remain invisible when questions were asked or topics were discussed on subjects I knew nothing about.  I happily remained anonymous for the better part of a year.

It seemed the people in the Writer's Retreat had been friends for a very long time.  People shared good news and bad news and their friends cheered and prayed.  Some people even shared market information!  I figured they must have been friends because in this dog-eat-dog world where publishers folded faster than I could finish my first lesson, there was way too much competition for writers to share such golden info.  Unless they were very, very good friends. 

Envious of the writer's circle, I continued to prowl the forum and eavesdrop.  Then one day, I took the leap.  I knew the only way I could become a part of their circle was to jump in and introduce myself.  Before I knew what happened, I was not only part of the writer's circle, I was invited to be part of a critique group made up of some very talented writers.  I also became very good cyber-friends with an amazing YA author. 

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I'd genuinely care for people I never met in person but
Facebookput faces with the names and suddenly we all knew about each other's family and pets.  We pass along market info and give each other swift kicks in the rear when we need them.  I find myself cheering over every body's good news and praying for each other's good health and happiness.

Even though most of us have never met each other in person, we know that when our turn comes for celebrating or praying, everyone else will be there for us.  We guide each other, inspire each other, and offer our shoulder's to cry on.  We do the "happy dance" together and understand the importance of every acceptance AND rejection.

We still live in a dog-eat-dog world and unfortunately, plenty of magazines and publishers still close their doors in these uncertain times, but that is exactly why this ever-expanding circle of writers choose to watch each other's backs and hold each other's hands as we chip away at the wall separating us from publication.  It is amazing and so unselfish how the successful ones continue to hold onto our hands and guide us through also. 

Every time one of us breaks through the wall, we rejoice because we know there is hope for the rest of us.

We all continue with our eyes on the price, and reach for the golden ring that will make us the next JK Rowling, Stephen King, or Maya Angelou.