Saturday, August 20, 2011

Virtually Impossible to Feel Alone

Recently, a friend asked if I feel isolated as a writer. I do at times, because I’m one of those “in your head” people in the first place. I feel most isolated when I struggle to explain to non-writer friends why I put up with rejection, self doubt and a rapidly changing, and often times, subjective industry. Or, when I try to describe the exhilaration of a great writing day or an agent request for chapters.
That’s why it’s so important for me to connect with other writers, even if that’s virtually. My connections to the following folks have been organic. The Universe must be hard at work because I didn’t go looking for these awesome supports. While I have lots of local support, this is my “Around the World” list of people who have shaped my writing life.

  • Tracy – a writer in North Carolina introduced to me via our common friend, Deb (my former Goodwill colleague). Tracy has been an invaluable beta reader and all-around cheerleader.

  • Jeff – the 2011 director of the Dallas Fort Worth Writers Conference who happened to notice my email is DurangoWriter. That sparked his interest because he owns land in Pagosa Springs, just a short 45-minute drive from here. We recently collaborated on a virtual “chat” about what it’s like to do research for our novels on location. And he wears cool fedoras.

  • Kat B. – an American writer living in Japan who sponsored a critique contest as a clean water fundraiser. I entered the contest and we began to exchange emails. I learned we share a love of baking as well as writing. Even, halfway around the world, she has offered support in so many ways.

  • Christi – my college roommate living in the UK who reconnected with me via Facebook after almost 25 years. Besides giving me the most awesome feedback on my first novel, she inspires me with her writing. Her debut novel, Night School, comes out in early January. I wish I could be there for LAUNCH DAY. And her husband is pretty darn fun to follow on Twitter.

  • The four authors who started a free online writers’ conference called WriteOnCon – These ladies do this on their own time without compensation! They put thousands of writers around the world in touch with each other and with industry pros. Just this week, at the second annual WriteOnCon, I got a request from an agent to see three chapters and a synopsis after I participated in a virtual pitch session.

  • AuthoressAnon – This amazing woman remains anonymous but she’s single-handedly created a unique pitch contest that links writers with agents EVERY MONTH. She also coordinates something called the Baker’s Dozen Agent Auction, where writers can submit the first 250 words of their novels for 13 agents to peruse. My entry this month has received some positive reviews from fellow writers and from the agent reviewing the snippets. Thank you, Authoress!

  • The writers whose blogs inspire me to push forward – Tawna Fenske, Anne Riley, Kiersten White, Mandy Hubbard, Rebecca E., and many others too numerous to mention.

So, yes, I do feel isolated at times. But I don’t have to, as long as I have an Internet connection…and make an effort to get out of my own head.
What kinds of virtual connections have YOU made?


  1. Thanks for the shoutout, Mandy. I am SO glad Debbie "introduced" us. Writer friends are the BEST!! :-)

  2. Thanks so much for the mention! People who say writing is a solitary profession clearly don't know where to look for all sorts of wonderful support. I couldn't do this without so many great people (like you!) as part of this big gang of writers.


  3. I follow Rebecca E's blog too. She's so nice and helpful, and I love reading her posts.

    I think having writer friends here helps keep me from going totally insane with all the writing and rejections going on. It's nice to have a network of kind voices.