Monday, June 17, 2013

Ode to my Writing Community


Dreaming up something... (That's me on the left!)
I have always been a writer.

My mother will happily recount the days I scribbled complicated drawings into pre-school binders and recited my stories to anyone and everyone who would listen. She will also recall my enthusiasm for writing in elementary school--those animal-centric stories that nearly always ended with a girl being given a pet horse. She will, however, also remember a shift that took place around my twelfth birthday.

I still wrote during middle school (massive, overly-complicated LORD OF THE RINGS and DRAGONLANCE CHRONICLE rip-offs, mostly), but I did so with a sudden and peculiar sense of shyness. Because I was nearly a teenager now, and writing--particularly fantasy writing--was weird. Dorky. Undesirable.

It was far more socially acceptable to be an athlete, so I dove into that pursuit instead. By high school, my writing days were mostly a memory.

My writerly drought continued through college, but my storytelling pangs never went away. They were always there--looming just on the edge of my psyche, so tentative and fragile they disappeared when I tried to study them too closely.

I finally surrendered to my pangs five years ago, but even then, I kept my strange hobby on the down-low. Most of my good friends (with the exception of my long-time critique partner Allen Walker) didn't even know I had written a novel until I signed with a literary agent.

Why? Looking back on it, I laugh at myself for my self-consciousness. Because here's the thing I've realized since I've embraced my inner writerly-ness: there are TONS of writers out there. Everywhere.

They are AMAZING people, and they have welcomed me and made me part of their community with no questions asked. I have met them through QueryTracker and forums, I have buddied up with them at conferences, I have taken workshops with them, I have consoled them during their setbacks and I have toasted to their successes.

I have become part of something so much bigger than myself, and now I wonder why it took me so long to realize I wasn't alone in this.

So... Thank you. To all of you. For everything.

One more thing: I'm very, very lucky to have you.