You know the old adage: It takes a village to raise a child. Well it also takes a village to develop a writer. We may work in a field that requires solitude, but the truth is, we could never get a book written, revised, submitted, and published without some help.
Our families may or not be of help. We certainly need them, but sometimes the ones we love the most don’t understand our need to write. Most of us have a friend or two who support our desire and dreams, but we need more.
I added to my village by finding people online who appreciate what I do. I’m a member of a couple of yahoo groups. I joined She Writes and Writing.com, and took some classes where I met likeminded people whom I stayed in touch with.
Without people who are willing to critique our work, people who give us a pat on the back when we do good, and help us make our writing better when it’s just not what we want it to be yet, this job becomes almost impossible.
I’ve been fortunate to find a publisher and editor who are both professionals, well educated and experienced in the area of book editing and publishing. And they have taught me as much if not more than all the books and classes put together. And then there are the websites like Savvy Author and The Editor Devil, where I can not only learn how to hone my craft, but also can find others who are in the same boat.
I guess the point of writing this article is to encourage every writer to make friends with those who are like us, who understand us, and then don’t be afraid to ask for help. Every writer needs to know and associate with writers, agents, editors, publishers, booksellers, readers and fans. No matter what level you are at as a writer, you need to spend a few minutes a day talking with others who understand what you’re trying to do, and how you feel. There are thousands of people out there who are willing to help you, or any writer who needs help. And in the long run, these are the people who will be your best supporters for success.
If you’re shy, or think it’s too overwhelming to get involved with Facebook or online groups, leave comments at blogs and websites. And by all means see if you can join a group or create a group in the town where you live. Put up a flyer at the library. Check out the high school and offer to help a young writer, or a group of them. There are ways to meet people who will be an asset to you, and people who need a little help in this endeavor we call solitary. So, don’t try to do it alone. Claim your village, and then make sure to become a village member for someone else.