January 23, 2012

A Pleasant Surprise


When I began this writing journey (see my post from last Monday to learn more), I had a lot of expectations.

First, I thought I’d quickly grow discouraged at my lack of expertise in novel writing, that others might secretly sneer at my blog or my comments on other blogs and think, “She’s such an amateur!”

Second, I also figured that the world of writers was a cutthroat one in which authors were always trying to top each other and doing anything possible to stand above the cut.

Finally, I thought the journey would be a solitary one. Sure, I’d anticipated maybe meeting another writer here and there, possibly exchanging information at conferences and chatting occasionally. But all in all, I figured I’d rarely interact with other authors.

When I look at that list, I realize what a cynic I was. But it’s what I’d always heard about the writing community (sad, but true). However, as the title of this blog post suggests, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself wrong on all counts.

This may be because I’m immersing myself primarily in the Christian writing community, but whatever the reason, I couldn’t be more grateful.

Because my experience has been that other writers realize everyone is in a different place in their careers. Some are novices, never having written anything. Some have been writing for years, but are new to novel writing (oh me, me, pick me!). Others have already acquired agents, and still others have published books on the shelves.

So those “amateur” comments I was so worried about? My experience has instead been that more experienced writers are more than willing to answer the less-experienced writer’s questions—and in a gracious manner.

I’ve also perceived that writers exhibit genuine joy when they know others who have succeeded in some way. I’ve witnessed true excitement for each other instead of the jealousy you might expect  (see this awesome post by Katie Ganshert on the joy/jealousy rollercoaster).

Finally, though I expected to be a loner on this journey, I’ve been so grateful to see writers come alongside one another—and alongside me!—in support and encouragement. Just you who comment regularly on my blog encourage me so much, reminding me I’m not alone and helping me to build a community of people with similar goals.

(There have been some very specific ways I’ve discovered to immerse yourself into the writing community, and I’ll address those in next Monday’s post.)

Your Turn: Have you also been surprised by the writing community? If so, in what ways?

*Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici

14 comments:

  1. Aw, I agree with everything you've said in this post! Writer friends are the BEST, and I, too, have been *more* than pleasantly surprised at the encouragement and support from fellow writers—published and unpublished alike. The journey still gets lonely at times, but when that happens, I just venture over to my friends' blogs or send an email to connect, and suddenly I feel a little less alone. It's the equivalent of the water cooler conversations at the office. :)

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    1. I relate to this post and your comment. There are so many wonderful people out there willing to help, listen and offer advice. It's so comforting to know that even when I am feeling lonely I am never truly alone.

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    2. Great analogy, Barb! I couldn't agree with you more.

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    3. And TC, it truly is comforting, isn't it? I love the little community of fellow writers I have right now, and love meeting new friends too.

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  2. I love this post because I've seen the truth of it in my own writing life, too. The encouragement I receive from fellow writers is awesome...and makes me want to dish out the same. :) The places where I've found the most encouragement include My Book Therapy and ACFW - met so many amazing people through both. And, it's been fun meeting new friends online - you, for instance!

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    1. Melissa, I totally agree. And I can't wait to attend ACFW since I've heard so many great things about it.

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  3. I love the journey along the writing road. Even on the most difficult of days, this is where I want to be, where I know I'm supposed to be. One of the best things? The people I meet along the way. The people ahead of me, who have turned around and come back to walk alongside me and offer guidance. The people behind me -- I get to "pay it backward," so to speak. I have the chance to pour into others what others have poured into me. I've found writers to be some of the most giving people I've ever met. They share time, talent and hope with one another.

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    1. Beth, you are definitely paying it backward in my case. I appreciate all the wisdom and friendship you've offered me along the way so far! You are such a great encourager.

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  4. I remember the first time I decided to leave a comment on someone's blog and being so NERVOUS! I don't know what I expected...that they'd snicker at the amateur or think, "Who does this girl think she is?" But I found the same thing you did. Everyone was so kind! Welcome to the community, Lindsay! :)

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    1. I know, Sarah. I would read and reread all of my comments just to make sure I didn't sound stupid. I remember deleting some comments I'd made because after reading other people's I felt so silly. But I've realized what you have; that people are never mean and always encouraging. And thanks, Sarah. You are one of the ones that has made me feel most welcome! :)

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  5. I have been very encouraged by the many authors I have met. I was thrilled when they agreed to be interviewed on my blog. It's such a treat to learn writing tips, be inspired, or just chat with other writers. I am a better writer because of it!

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    1. Ruth, that's a great point. There is so much for us to learn from fellow writers!

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  6. I've been encouraged by random people who visit my blog and encourage me. But I'm reminded that our God isn't random at all, and those people were handpicked by Him to bless me.

    Blessings to YOU, Lindsay, as you press on.
    Hugs from VA :)

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    1. You are so right, Susan. God must have handpicked you to encourage me today! Thank you. :)

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