Thursday, May 14, 2009

You Don't Have to Do this Alone

Tip of the Day: Using the crushed ice option on your refrigerator, fill a cup with ice and pour juice over it. It makes a sno-cone! Sorta.

A few weeks ago I was talking about how cool it is to hook up with other YA authors. I got to do that again this past week with two fellow Debs when Kristin Walker and I went to Aprilynne Pike's booksigning at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, IL. After the signing we hung out and gabbed and had a great time. And it reminded me how needed it is to talk to other people in your field, other people who "get it". Sure you have plenty of friends and family that you can talk to but will they really understand how torn up you are when you get another new cover so close to your release (um, yeah. If you haven't noticed my cover has disappeared from the sidebar on our blog here. #3 is in the works) or you're revising your book for the 50th time? As authors we're not in cubicles in an office building where we can get up from our desks at any time and walk across the aisle to a friend and whine about the boss or the neverending project problems. So we need to find other ways of doing this. And here are a few suggestions you may want to try:

Writing Retreats: You can shell out some bucks and go to a nice organized one with an instructor and everything like this one in Italy or you can grab a couple of writing friends and make-up your own writing retreat like Em, Deena, and I did when we picked a spot inbetween where we all lived and rented a floor in a B&B for the weekend. And gave the retreat a cool name of course.

Conferences: Or try a conference! I still haven't been to any of the SCBWI conferences but I hear such good stuff about them! And the big SCBWI-LA one is coming up. From what I'm told, all the cool people go to this one.

Writing Groups: Start or join a writing group. You may not be able to find a young adult fiction only group but there are plenty of general writing groups out there. Go to a Web site like and type in your city and writing and see what's out there. It's a chance to hang out with other writers anyway. Or, walk into your local Indie book store or Barnes & Nobles and ask to see their calendar of events. My local B&N, for example, has a monthly writer's group where people take turns reading their works aloud.

What about you guys? Do you successfully reach out to other writers to stay sane in this business and if so, how do you do it?

Kristina, Miss Delighted to Debut


C. K. Kelly Martin said...

It's definitely cool to be able to commiserate with other writers when having writing (or writing biz) issues but most of the time I have to say I really don't enjoy talking writing that much and wouldn't be drawn to hang out with authors more so than people of any other profession. And conferences and events that are centered around writing are really not for me - because writing is the thing I'm doing with so much of my time anyway, having more of that around me only makes me feel intensely claustrophobic. On top of that I'm an introvert - and natural loner - anyway so those types of events feel draining.

It feels almost like sacrilege to say (and I feel like I'm really in the minority on this) and obviously there are certain times only other writers will completely understand but for the most part I feel way more sane when I'm doing the writing thing on my own. Different strokes...

P.S. The irony that I'm posting this message on a group board doesn't escape me but I did say "for the most part."

DeenaML said...

C.K. -- very interesting perspective, and one that we don't hear often, but you're right -- if you are writing 24/7 anyway, then sometimes you DO want a break.

I'm more like Tina, though. Most of my day is spent with librarians and when going to a librarian conference, I actually enjoy talking about books and writing, not the actual act of being a librarian. Bc I do spend so much time WITH librarians and talking about it.

What I do LIKE talking about is writing, bc right now I WISH I could spend more time doing that.

Emily Marshall said...

C.K. interesting points, and I agree you have to do what works best for you.

Going to retreats and talking to other writers actually helps motivate me to get working.

Kristina Springer said...

Interesting perspective C.K.! I think I just get frustrated a lot because I'll try to talk about what's going on with me writing-wise and I'll get really glazed over looks or they'll try to help but not understand the problem really. It's kind of like commiserating with other Moms. When you talk to a group of Moms and you're like my kid did such a such, and everyone nods, oh, I hear ya!! Nice to know you're not alone. :-)

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

Oh amen, sister! Writing can be a lonely business, but I've met the nicest people because of it. I've taken myself on retreat, but it much more fun with a bunch of writers.

I''m organizing the 2010 Pocono Retreat, and it's fabulous! But I love the idea of building a small getaway with just a few writing buddies.

I totally get your comments, C.K. For me, writing is my escape from the mama thing and all that. I think it's also about the fact that I'm still in pursuit. I haven't reached that stage where it's all I do, yet.

Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

Very helpful advice. Thank you for posting it!
Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of HOPE..
Ch. 1 is online!