Pardon, please, the nerd peeking through here, but this old (and growing swiftly older) Trekker couldn’t resist.
Years ago (many), I was active in online writers’ forums and email critique groups. My main partners in crime back in the day were The Sandbaggers, a group of children’s writers who became friends. We helped one another by reviewing drafts, researching publication possibilities, and providing encouragement and moral support. I believe I did some of my best writing in those days, to be honest, and I still hear from several of my Sandbaggers friends to this day.
Let it be known (if it hasn’t already been made apparent in previous posts) that I am a hermit at heart. It’s actually hereditary; I take after my grandma in that way. I’m pathetically shy, have a horrible time even trying to hold a phone conversation, and will almost always decline any social invitation as politely as I can. However, as I’ve tried to get back into the rhythm of being a consistent writer, I’ve been thinking a lot about those days.
Reclusiveness has its benefits, but also its drawbacks. I really have no one to bounce things off of, or who really get what being a writer is all about. Though I have a friend or two willing to read what I write, I find that asking feels (to me) like an imposition in many ways. I do have friends who are writers, but we aren’t close in that respect, and they have lives, projects, and deadlines of their own.
I’ve found I miss having others around me who experience the same joys and suffer the same frustrations. Though I have been a member of Sisters In Crime since 2015, I haven’t really taken part in the social and support aspects of that organization. I knew “SinC” has far more to offer than I was taking advantage of, but I was letting a myriad of excuses hold me back. I have recently been thinking about getting more involved, and exploring more of what the organization provides.
Very recently, Sisters In Crime sent out an email about their new online forum for all members. Their Guppies chapter does provide an online and email forum for writers to network. However those members who had not joined Guppies really didn’t have anything similar.
Was the Universe sending me a little nudge that it had heard my back-of-the-mind musings? I decided to join up and find out. Once there, I really liked what I saw. Old memories of support and camaraderie stirred. I decided to take it a step further and also joined Guppies.
Tomorrow night, I will be attending a Fireside Chat hosted by one of the many sub-Chapters of Sisters In Crime. Coincidentally (or not?), this chat just happens to be about a topic I’ve had buzzing around my head for quite a long while. The most current book I’m working on is a Sci-Fi, and yet the professional writers’ organization I belong to is a mystery writers’ organization. The topic of tomorrow’s virtual event? Writing in multiple genres.
“Serendipity.” It’s one of (if not the number one) my favorite words. I just love the way it sounds, so bouncy and fun, but I especially love when it lands in front of me, laughing and reaching out to let me know that “someone out there” really does hear our hearts.
I am thoroughly enjoying the posts on the forum and email lists and finding once again that so many others have the same things in mind that I do. I’m receiving inspiration from other writers’ blogs and gathering encouragement from their videos. I’ve been transported back to the days of hanging out on GEnie and NVN with Helen and Jane and Josepha and Bruce and MaryEllen, of exchanging chapters and manuscripts with KC and Darcy and Sue and LJ and Mary and Dori and Debbie, and of playing writers games like good old Gerry’s Game.
Although there are no rules that writers have to network with other writers, and even though I am not a joiner or a socializer by nature, I’m smiling a lot this last week or so. I guess, as we age, nostalgia works its way into our priorities. The email list and forums feel just a little bit like “going home.” I look forward to getting to know some of these new acquaintances, and to calling them friends.
It’s nice to connect with others who face the same sense of wonder that I do when worlds start to come together, and characters take on a life of their own. And it’s great to know, that when I am at the point of frustration where I’m ready to scream, I am not the only one with a keyboard imprint in my forehead.