You have no social life? Ah, you must be a writer. Well, okay maybe that used to be the case, but things are different these days. With the Internet at our fingertips, we writers are instantly in touch with the outside world and a host of friends. But there’s nothing quite like having a “writer’s circle”.
A writer’s circle is that group of friends with whom you share every facet of your writing journey. They brainstorm with you, critique for you, mentor you. They send you chocolate when your spirit dips and accolades when the contracts roll in.
I stumbled upon my group quite by accident. Colleen Coble and I met at a writing class where we went to hear our editor speak to the group. We met up again at a library where we went to hear another author speak. We hit it off there and started zipping emails back and forth. Then she introduced me to Kristin Billerbeck and Denise Hunter and the rest is history.
As in any other friendship, the personalities have to mesh for it to work. Doesn’t mean you’re all alike, it just means you can relate to one another. They never make me feel stupid for questions asked—though I’m pretty sure they hide in the bathroom for a full two minutes, laughing their brains out before answering my email.
You say you’ve been just fine without one up to now, so why change things? Let me give you a couple of reasons why they work:
1. Though they’re not blood-related, your writer’s circle will read what you need them to read. Nobody forces them. There’s nothing in it for them, well, except your friendship. But they’ll read your manuscript, your synopsis, your scene, your grocery list, whatever it takes.
2. They not only read your work, they make comments. Okay, they might hack it to death, but it’s in a loving way. It’s kind of like one of those crusher squeezes Aunt Gertrude gives you when she hugs you hello. You dread it, but appreciate it all at the same time.
3. They understand your pain. When the rejections pour in, it’s nice to have someone who’s been there, done that to help you through it. Non-writers don’t understand the process like writers do. Writers feel your pain. They show up with chocolate. It goes along with that wailing principle thing in Biblical days. You know, when someone grieved, they brought in a group of professional wailers for comfort. That would be other writers. We can wail with the best of them.
4. They don’t let you “wallow” too long. Before you can say “chocolate truffles,” your writer friends snatch the box of chocolates from your grasp and plunk you right back in front of the computer to face your fears. They will not let you give up.
5. They can party like nobody else! When you are offered a contract, non-writers are happy for you, but your writer friends understand the blood, sweat and tears that went into your work that brings you to this moment of victory. They whoo-hooo and send so many congratulation messages you could paper your wall.