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.