Hello lovely readers,
If you took the leap last week to try to write a book during NaNoWriMo, we bet you’re already feeling a tad bit fatigued. Whether you’re a seasoned author who already writes fast or someone who is trying this whole writing thing out for the first time, creating whole fictional worlds and lives take a lot out of you. It’s mentally taxing, to say the least. It’s also an inherently lonely activity. Most of the time it may be just you and your laptop. However, we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be like that. We think it’s the perfect time for our authors to answer this question:
How important is making connections in the industry and with other writers?
By now, even if you’re new to writing, you’ve already started to learn the answer. As Kari Lee Harmon says:
writing is a solitary profession. My family supports my writing, but they don’t truly get it like fellow writers do.
Even if you’re extremely introverted, you need community. It’s just a basic human truth. In fact, Jaclyn Reding goes so far as to say:
It is vital for your personal well-being to surround yourself with like-minded people who understand the process and the ups and downs of being a writer. I’ve made lifelong friendships at writing conferences and in local writing groups that have lasted decades.
When you’ve spent hours and hours toiling away on your book, you’re going to get frustrated. You’re going to feel like you’re failing at something. Of course, you’re also going to feel extremely proud of the way you’ve tied things together in one scene or had a ball writing witty banter in another. All of those are feelings you should totally share with someone else who gets it. When things are bad, your fellow writers will lift you up and help you feel like you’re not alone. And when they’re great, they will cheer you on like no one else. As Willa Blair says:
Other writers are not competition – we can’t write books as fast as readers read them. Other writers are your support system.
If you treat every other author solely as competition, you’re probably not going get too far… and even if you do, it won’t be as truly meaningful as it could have been if you’d chosen to not go through things alone. As Jill Barnett says
Some of my best friends are fellow writers. We started out together.
So, whether you know people personally who are also plugging away at their own novels or you’ve been eying those message boards on NaNoWriMo’s page, we wholeheartedly recommend that you reach out and revel in the community that NaNoWriMo provides authors. We can 100% guarantee you that so many of your favorite OHB authors are doing just that behind the scenes. Find your people and cheer each other on. You’ve got this!
Of course, we can’t forget the fact that forming bonds in the industry are helpful professionally as well. Jill went on to say
If you write in a genre, you need to read it, research it and the industry, take workshops and classes and go to conferences to learn your business and your craft. LEARN YOUR CRAFT!
If you’re going to venture into this world of publishing, you really need to immerse yourself in it and find your place within it as well. On the most basic level, those same authors that have helped you through your most difficult writing days are sharing with you all that they have personally learned about writing and making it work. They may have tips and tricks that you’ve never thought of, and so it’s by knowing them and getting their help that you may make your biggest breakthrough of your career.
As far as the big picture, you never know what knowing someone might help you with in the future. As Kari says:
It’s definitely important to make connections in the industry. It’s a smaller world than you might think, and you never know when a connection might be useful. And be generous yourself. Help others, and never burn bridges
Even if none of your writer friends are published yet, you never know what the future holds. You never know who might eventually be able to help you get your foot in the door somewhere or who might be able to lend you their audience for promotion on social media or on their blog.
One day you might both be seated at a panel or side by side at a signing booth at a huge convention, and you’ll be able to say to them, “Remember when…”
From all of us at OHB, we hope more than anything that that does come true for you, and we’re continuing to cheer you on from here…because whether you realize it or not, you’re a part of our community, too.
New York Times Bestselling Author Jill Barnett is a master storyteller known for her beautifully-written love stories rich with humor, emotion, and poignancy. In addition to the critical acclaim and numerous awards she has received, her books have been named Best of the Year, earned starred reviews and have been published in 23 languages and appeared on numerous bestseller lists. She lives in the PNW with her family.
Kari Lee Townsend is a National Bestselling Author of mysteries & a tween superhero series. She also writes romance and women’s fiction as Kari Lee Harmon. With a background in English education, she’s now a full-time writer, wife to her own superhero, mom of three sons, one darling diva, one daughter-in-law & two lovable fur babies. These days you’ll find her walking her dogs or hard at work on her next story, living a blessed life.