Saturday, January 9, 2010

I get by with a little help from my friends...

I'm a cheerleader.  I love to share my excitement about something that moves me, something that grabs me.  If you did it and it's awesome, I want you to know it.  I think everyone needs a cheerleader.  The real shock is that I'm not an exception.

I'm not new to writing but to talking about writing.  One of the things that has changed the most over the last four months is that I now actually like talking about my writing.  I like talking about other people's writing.  I like talking about what other people think of other peoples writing.

What I hadn't ever experienced was people talking about MY writing.  To me.
I used to think writing was a solitary process.  Very solitary.  To a certain degree it is, but even before you reach the "rah rah team of an agent/editor/publisher/adoring fans/crazyfangirls" level, having people support you is incredibly important.

As a closeted writer, a year ago only a few well chosen people knew that I wrote.  Only one of those people ever read anything I wrote.

Now, with the inspiration and not so gentle guidance of a wonderful group of writers - I share my writing readily.  I have even let some people read my writing.  Some would say I might 'overshare' my writing a tad.

It's amazing.  Not just the support of another writer (or twenty) but having others read my work has rapidly improved my writing.  I have instant feedback on whether something works or something is authentic to a character.  Obviously I love the supportive comments, squees of joy and happy thoughts and I've been known to pour (hell is this pour or pore?) over them and mainline them like crack (do people mainline crack? hmmm something to ponder)  - but what I've learned is that where I grow is from the critique.

When something doesn't work for a reader, I want to know why.  I LIKE knowing that something I wrote didn't work.  Why?  Because it helps build my own internal editor.  I often ignore the little voice in my head, (not that one... but THAT one... no no no, not the one whispering over there... THAT ONE! geez!) that small grumble that tells me something is off.  Because I wrote it, pored my heart into it, breathed life into it - I might be just a little too close to it at times to be objective.  Yet, as this process goes on and more and more comments come back I realize I knew where the problem was all along. 

I'm grateful I de-lurked and I appreciate the group of writers that have shoved down on the bench to make room for the new guy.  It's an amazing place where I can be in the game - and on the sidelines cheering at the same time.  Which is just about perfect for me.

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