Words for Women: You Can’t Do It On Your Own

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Photo by Robert Vitulano via Flickr
Photo by Robert Vitulano via Flickr

Writing is a solitary pursuit. The only way to finish a novel is to practice BIC (butt-in-chair) and put words on the page. Rinse, repeat, ad infinitum. It can be isolating. It can be difficult. It can be discouraging. But you ultimately do it alone.

The further I walk down this publishing journey, the more I realize that kind of thinking is not only  untrue, but unhealthy. Yes, as Christians we are never truly alone. The God of Heaven calls us “friend.” But even when God walked with Adam in the Garden of Eden, He said, “It is not good for man to be alone” and created Eve. We are social creatures. We need other people. And I think that’s especially true with writers.

As my first book gets ready to release next month, I know that I would never have made it here without some key people in my personal life.

  • My critique partner who pushed me to submit to the Genesis contest last year. I finaled (but didn’t win), which got me to the ACFW conference, where I pitched another book to a David C Cook editor who ended up buying it. That book is Five Days in Skye, the one releasing next month.
  • Another critique partner who pushed me to finish revisions while above editor was waiting on the full manuscript. She texted and emailed me every night to make sure I was still on track with editing and requesting updated chapters. We brainstormed solutions to problems I can’t tell you how many times.
  • Numerous writing friends who gave me reality checks, sent inspirational videos and quotes, celebrated when things went right, prayed when things went wrong. When I had books in committee, I had so many people messaging me to see how things were going and offering encouragement that I lost track of who knew what. These are the people who have celebrated my successes to an almost embarrassing degree (thanks, guys).
  • A well-known author friend who has come to expect weekly panicked emails from me on some new and unexpected quirk of the business. She can generally put it in perspective for me in ten words or less.
  • Another author friend who knows pretty much everyone in the business and can get an answer on nearly any question in less than a day.

Do I point this out to say how awesome I am that I’ve got all these great people cheering for me? Absolutely not! I’m so blessed and overwhelmed to have connected with so many great writers who have become dear friends. We’ve formed a community. We have an “in-it-together” mentality. We do what we can for each other, regardless of whether we’re in the same city or two thousand miles apart. But it didn’t happen overnight. It took effort to connect with people online, in person, at chapter meetings, through mutual friends.  Some of these friendships were formed instantly over a single shared interest, some took years.

Just like writing, life isn’t meant to be experienced alone. I would hope everyone has some sort of family for support, but sometimes you need that one heart friend, that one family member who is chosen, not related by blood. If you’re still looking, get out there and take a chance. There’s someone else who needs what only you can offer, who is tired of doing things on her own.

I’ll leave you with a song… because really, any reason to post U2 is a good reason in my book. It’s mostly talking about family, but I’m a firm believer in making family where you find it.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjtWlulx3eA]

From whom are you most grateful for on your life’s journey, writing or otherwise?

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  1. Evangeline Denmark says:

    So true, Carla! That whole hermit mentality doesn’t work for most of the writers I know. We can’t do this without support. Writing has got to be one of the most challenging careers with excruciating waits and treacherous valleys to slog through.
    There are days I’d quit if it weren’t for my writer friends. There’ve been days when I DID quit! My writer friends gave me grace, understanding and encouragement, space to grieve when I needed to and a kick in the pants when I needed that.
    I wouldn’t trade my writing community for all the success in the world!

    • Carla says:

      I agree with you, and I’m grateful that you’re part of that community! Wouldn’t want to do it without you, my friend!

  2. Heather Day Gilbert says:

    Yes, Carla. Totally hear you. This is exactly what drove a couple writer friends and myself to start a website to connect writers with agents/editors, etc…and OTHER WRITERS. A place we can talk and make friendships, throw those hooks/first pages/queries out there for honest feedback. We know how important support of other authors has been in our OWN lives and we want to share. It’s marriedwithfiction (dot) com if you ever want to check it out. We love participation and input from writers at ALL stages of the game. Not to hijack your post, but this has definitely been a burden of ours, as well. Thank the Lord for those mentors who’ve shared with ME along the way. I’ll never forget them!

    • Carla says:

      I know Married with Fiction! Jennifer got me over there. I’m glad there are online sites like yours for writers to hand out and connect. Best wishes for its success.

      • Heather Day Gilbert says:

        BTW–we’d love to have you guest blog sometime! Just let me know if you’d be interested in getting scheduled in there!

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