The craft of writing can be a solitary one, but it doesn’t have to be. The Internet provides a means to always be connected to friends, family and colleagues. It can also be an enormous time-sink but that is a conversation for another time.
I want to talk about the availability of community, both writing and otherwise through the Internet and daily life. Is community really important?
I know of writers who prefer to be alone and separated from their writing peers at work and in everyday life and I respect that. I also think those people are missing out on something; the ability to talk the craft and exchange ideas.
“What kind of ideas?” you may ask. Well, speaking as an amateur writer I have questions about many aspects of writing as both a craft and a business. Things like “How should I submit to Publishers and/or agents?” and “what is the publishing process like?’ just to name two but there are scores of others that I have asked and will ask in the future.
Questions that I couldn’t ask if I didn’t spend time around other writers.
This topic has particular relevance for me right now. I’ve been a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) for a little over a year now. Until this week I had never met another member (knowingly). Our regional coordinator, Simon Rose, put a meeting together of some local SCBWI’s this week which I attended.
Some of the members were published and some weren’t. Everyone had something interesting and useful to say. Whether the topic was how to handle a school visit or how to prepare for a signing, I left with information I didn’t have before. I also left knowing that there are others out there with similar interests and frustrations to mine.
It was well worth the 2 hour time commitment.
There were a few people who didn’t come claiming that they cannot make “Meetings” of any kind. I cannot help but feel that they are missing out on an important aspect of their SCBWI membership.
Naturally, this idea of community extends beyond SCBWI and writing in general. I look at the podcasting community and marvel at the level of support everyone is willing to extend to even the greenest member (like me). I’ve learned so much already in the four months of podcasting and I’m extremely grateful to everyone who has lent a hand.
You can extend the concept of community as far as you like. Regardless of how far you go, there are benefits available. In the end only you and your level of participation will tell how far you can go.
Nothing new to report on the book front. My manuscript is still in front of a publisher. I need to spend some time and ready my other story to send out.
Episode 4 of ‘Get Published’ has been a very interesting experience. The interview was great and I learned a lot. Expect more interviews in the future. The challenge now will be to live up to the success of that episode.