And no, I don’t mean hitting the best-seller list and appearing on Oprah.
Middle Son’s batting average this baseball season has been disappointing. It was as if all his ball savvy had disappeared from one year to the next. He wasn’t aggressive when approaching a grounder and backed off pop flies. He’d either under-throw, over-throw or just plain miss his mark.
Slow on the uptake, I said, “Self, maybe this kid can’t see.”
Sure enough a trip to the eye doctor proved the need for glasses. They arrived two days ago. When we walked out of the office and into the world, my heart broke. Middle’s face lit up. He slid his glasses down his nose and popped them back up–a huge grin lighting his face.
He could see.
His eyes are fairly bad, but until baseball, we didn’t have a clue that he was struggling. He didn’t squint. He never complained. He lived a normal life.
But his normal was fuzzy and blurry and had quirky depth perception. And nobody knew. Not even he. It hurts my heart to think of what he thought was normal.
Writers, we’re guilty of this ourselves. When we start out, we know nothing about the business. Our vision is fuzzy and blurry and has quirky depth perception. We have no freakin’ idea what the real world of writing is all about.
Across the board, we just don’t understand that we truly cannot see.
Writing solo or hiding in the proverbial writer’s closet only enforces our skewed vision. We have no way to gauge our perception from reality. And this, my friends, is why I think it’s so important to step out of the closet and join a writing community.
Personally, it doesn’t matter to me which community you join as long as you feel comfortable within it and begin to participate. I will, however, plug Agent QueryConnect as being THE TOP WRITING COMMUNITY on the net. So does Writer’s Digest. In their annual throw-down, Agent Query was listed as #7 for overall writing sites. Pretty impressive, in my book.
Yet even more impressive is the quality of the community itself.
Before joining AQ, I was a closet writer. I had yet to wear my new frames. Not that I didn’t get the industry. I was actually fairly industry savvy by this point. What I had missed in my fuzzy, messed-up world was that there is far more to writing than the basics.
Writing is an emotional, social and mechanical journey. There is craft and there is community. Growth and development must occur across the board for a writer to be fully prepared for the biz.
I’ve met some great crit partners via AQ. And even though I’d published in the short market before joining, my writing is much better now than before I joined. Yet I had no clue that my writing could be so much more. I did, after all, have credits to my name. I never dreamed this meant I still had a ton to learn. I was blind to the quality of my work.
Being on Agent Query Connect also taught me the value of relationships. Not industry contacts, but honest to goodness friendships. It has allowed me to feel comfortable with who I am as a writer and take pride in this fact. When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m a writer.
A writing community is not another closet, one populated by like-minded individuals. It’s a lifestyle. Try on a few writing communities until you find a good fit. Then participate. When you do, you’ll be just like Middle. You’ll slide your glasses down, then pop them back into place. For the first time, you will honestly see.
I promise you won’t be disappointed.
How about you? What is your go-to community? Where did you find them, and how do we? What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from being a part of a good writing community?
Tell me, what is your writing vision? Curious minds want to know.
I am a closet fiction writer, but the closet door is starting to squeak open. When I wrote my first novel, I was not part of a writing community. My wife and a few close friends read it. I got the typical feedback. “Oh this is great . . . Very nice . . .” Nothing I could actually use to improve my novel. I queried and revised my novel for about a year, then I let it die. The cause of death unknown. About the time I started writing my second novel, I stumbled upon Agent Query Connect. And, damn, I’m glad I did. So many wonderful and encouraging writers. It rocks. They helped me iron out my query letter. And now I have an awesome critique partner who is, no doubt, a WRITER!
I’m glad you pushed that closet door open and peeked your head out into the real world! Your writing rocks, by the way, so in that respect, your friends and family are right. You can write!
AQC has definitely made the difference to me in my writing journey. More so than any other online community. Now if they only had an AQ conference….
Thanks for stopping by and commenting on a topic near and dear to my heart. Maybe someday the dead novel can be resurrected?
AQC in da house, holla! lol
I also adore the AQC community. There are so many wonderful people there who not only understand when I talk about my manuscript troubles, but who also can empathize and offer suggestions. My husband’s eyes glaze over sometimes when I talk about writing. Plus, I’m a but introverted off-screen, so being in an online writing community lets me come out of my shell more comfortably.
You make a great point about the power of online groups allowing members to open up and grow in other ways besides honing their writing skills. AQ definitely woke up that part of my life and I feel much more confident that when the time comes to be a writer in the real world, I will have much better success at it.
Thanks for sharing!