Wednesday, November 16, 2011
My Fiction Day - Finding Peers
I feel like I fit in as an author.
As a new novelist, I'm constantly judging myself, wondering when someone will discover me for the fraud I am. I've learned that's a common conception. Forget all that crap about "you're a writer the minute you put words on paper." You know it and I know it - we're writers when others recognize us as writers. There are levels of writers, and when a traditional publisher is interested in you, you can't deny that you feel more validated.
Self-pubbing is fine; I'm not judging it. However, the confirmation of your decision to write stories isn't earned until you've made thousands of sales and/or developed quite the reputation. There's still something about a traditional publisher accepting you that makes you walk a little higher off the ground and gives you enough sense of self to carry you into that release date.
But whether you self-pub or go traditional, whether you write for magazines or blogs, finding like minds is extremely important in this business . . . in any career. Peers keep you grounded and lift you up. They become a barometer for your efforts.
Ah, but there are those who state that groups and peers can erode you - knock you off that horse you've been riding. That criticism is what drives many into a corner, writing for themselves only. Just take your horse to another town and try again. You need peers.
All of us need mentors, but we need equals, too. They are walking the same path. They support you when you get tired and vice versa. They spread the word about your successes, and you spread theirs. They commiserate and cheer. They get you.
Last week, we listed our own first lines in our novels. I did so with trepidation . . . until they told me how it hooked them right in. I think I grew up a little in that moment . . . and it felt so damn good.
NOTE: As to the picture: Melinda is a critique buddy of mine. She doesn't pull punches, but she'll support you to the end of the earth, too. Great traits for a writing pal.