Like everyone else, every January I sit down and evaluate my writing career (or lack thereof), and set new goals based on three critical objectives–inspiration, education, and opportunity.
Ideally, every writing task and commitment I enter into will in some way motivate my creativity, help me learn something new about my craft or the publishing world, and bring me a new opportunity for success. In fact, every class I am asked to teach, workshop I attend or present, or business venture I accept, must first meet one or all of these objectives.
For 2009, I have underscored one of the goals that is on my list every year–invest in community.
Writing is by it’s very nature a solitary enterprise. This is a truth that all writers acknowledge and accept, with a sigh. Unlike other crafts or trades, writer’s lack a ready made, easily identifiable and accessible herd of like-minded individuals with whom to collaborate, commiserate, and cohort.
Community, however, is a valuable resource to the creative sould. Some of the most profound inspiration, best nurturing, and lucrative opportunities I have ever received have come to me as a result of my associations with other writers. Who else could better understand my paranoia, psychosis, and other idiosyncracies? And, somewhat surprisingly, I have also discovered that my writer’s identity and career is equally enriched by the support I am able to offer to others.
Over the years I have participated in critique groups, joined writer’s associations, helped to organize literary events, donated my time to industry trade shows, and served on the boards of writing programs at various educational institutions.
From these activities I have developed wonderful relationships which continue to hold me up and help me through the dark night of the writers block, reassure me that publication is NOT an impossible dream, and encourage me to go where no writer has gone before.
This year I am adding genre writing groups to my list, groups like SFF and RWA, for example. How about you?