It Takes a Village

Actually sitting down and writing a book is a fairly solitary pursuit. It’s me and my laptop, sitting in a room in silence, watching a cursor blink annoyingly back at me. It is a story that lives in my head, and my head alone, waiting for me to find the words – the right words – and get to typing. Nobody can do it for me, and for the most part, I can’t write with distractions. So it’s a solitary pursuit.

In that way only, though. In every other way, it takes a village.

Seriously.

The village starts with my sister. She is the first person I discuss story ideas with, the first person I bounce plot lines off of, the one I turn to when I cannot think of what to name a character. (True story: I am terrible at coming up with names. Once I hear a name, I will know if it fits what I’m looking for, but coming up with them… nope. Awful. My sister, however, loves it and is therefore my go-to name generator.) The day I finished my outline for my New Project, I gave it to her, and only her, to read. We discussed. I got her support and enthusiasm, which fueled my fire for the story.

From there, the circle expands. A few of my closest friends also serve as my earliest readers, and the ones who don’t read for me still listen to me whine about plot holes or writer’s block or the querying process. Their support and feedback has proven absolutely invaluable to me, and without them, I can guarantee that ATWSOS would not be what it is. And as I am immensely proud of that book, it means a lot that they helped make it what it is.

Beyond the friends who have been my friends since before writing was such a huge part of my life, I have the friends I have made because of writing. My writer friends. They are the ones who get it, because they have lived it. Because they are living it alongside me. They know the frustration of searching for the right words, as well as the joy of solving a gaping plot hole. They know how painful each rejection in the querying process is, how much each full manuscript request feels like you’re handing an agent a baseball bat and hoping they won’t beat you with it. The writing community is something I only discovered after I completed the first draft of ATWSOS, but it has changed the game for me. It’s given me a support system I didn’t know existed, and one for which I am so very grateful.

So yes, only I can sit and write my book. Only I can put the ideas floating in my head onto paper. But there’s no way I would be able to do it without the village that surrounds me, buoys me, cheers me on through it all.

“Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to makes speeches. Just believing is usually enough.” – Stephen King

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