Friday, January 7, 2011

Would you keep going?

File:Soleil couchant sur le Vercors.jpg

If you were the only writer in the world, and there were no blogging buddies, critique partners, or beta readers... would you keep going?

I don't think I could.

I picture what it must have been like for early writers who scribbled away on parchment or in notebooks without the technology that allows me to move an entire paragraph or just one word with Ctrl X, Ctrl V. I imagine my friends thinking I'm crazy because I'd rather write than go to a ball or a party. Can you just taste the disappointment mixed with utter loneliness that some of our favorite writers must have experienced?

Two of my heroes are J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Individually, they're epic and respected writers. Together, in their little Inklings group of writers, they are pure awesome. What would one of them have been like without the other?

Answer: Like me, minus Amparo, Lindsay, Kelly, Angie, Kristal, and Michelle (my Operation Awesome critique partners and blog buddies). Sad. Discouraged. Alone.

I can't even tell you how many times one of them has cheered me up or kicked my butt into gear. And I couldn't possibly count or even recall every time one of your blog posts (yes, you, reading this blog) has taught me something about writing, or reading, or being human.

Without you guys, I wouldn't know how to start a story or how to finish one. I wouldn't understand story structure or characterization half as well as I do now. And I'm still learning from you.

We're not alone. And that makes writing 100% fun and 0% lonely.

For a glimpse at how much I've learned from my blogging friends, check out Pot Holes and Aha Moments in Your Writing Career by me over at Operation Awesome.


  1. EXCELLENT post! I sometimes wonder if I'd write without people supporting me. One day I say yes, the other I say no. Guess it depends on my mood or something :D

    SO HAPPY I'm one of your supporters! And, of course, that you have the misfortune of being one of mine :D Keep up the great work!

  2. I feel the same way about a lot of the things that I do. Writing or photography, if I didn't have people around me helping to push me to be my true potential I would be very lost in this world. I am very grateful that we at least do not live in that Shakespearean age. However, it would be pretty cool to meet the man. ;)

  3. I'd probably continue writing even if I was alone--although I would definitely feel lost and weighed down, and probably depressed.

  4. Ah, shucks, I feel so flattered. I'm glad you feel supported by the blogger writing community. It is pretty great.

  5. When I first started writing, I didn't know there were blogs and the like, so I'm sure I would have written anyway. I always imagined myself as a crazy old lady filling her attic with dusty manuscripts.

    However, would I have reached crazy old attic novelist status? Or would I have given up? I'm not sure.

    Before the exhilerating rush of new love wore off writing, I'd discovered online courses, NaNoWriMo, blogs, and what have you. And I do know that before I submitted my first excerpt to a class, I thought I was awful. Their input was very motivating: You're good, and here's how you can be even better.

    The online writing world has definitely brought me into the world of modern writing/publishing standards. I was clueless before.

    I'm a newbie at blogging, so I'm still performing for crickets and the occasional human who stumbles in there, but I definitely feel the support on other blogs. I hope to become a part of it.

    I love Tolkien!


  6. Oh, where to start? I started writing alone, but hadn't even finished half the first draft before I was searching for feedback on its viability, so, no. I would not write without others' support. And then there's the education. In a year, I learned about characterization (though being a psych professor, I was a little ahead of the curve there), POV (oh, the bane of my existence), adverb elimination, and basic structure of a plot. Would I have found these on my own in a writing book? Maybe. But I'm the type of person who needs to *do* it before I really learn it, so I might not have learned them as well.

    I thank my lucky stars for all the people I've met in the last two years since I started writing (creatively) and wouldn't be able to go on without their encouragement and commiseration. And you, Katrina, (with the Operation Awesome bloggers! Thanks!) even helped me get a second chance with an agent! Absolutely, I could not do this without my writing friends.

  7. I think I'd still write, but probably a lot less frequently and not nearly as well. And I'd probably be depressed about it a lot more often. Maybe that's why so many authors of the olden days were always depressed...they just needed a crit group! :)

  8. I started off writing on my own. I didn't know other people my age wrote (I was nine). And then one of my good friends told me she wrote too. We shared our writing for a while, and then we parted ways and I wrote alone again. I found a group of writers a few years later, and that was amazing. We called ourselves the Inklings because we all admired the Inklings so much. And then for another year or so I was on my own again because they all left for college or other things. And then I started blogging and getting involved with the online writing community. I think I would definitely still write. I write because I love it. But I do know I write better and get more out of it when I have other writers around, whether online or in real life. :)

  9. I think I would. I love to write. Writing helps heal me, but having like minded friends and even strangers to share the joys and heartaches that come with writing makes it all that much sweeter. :)

  10. Thanks for sharing your stories, guys. We really are blessed to have such an awesome online community. You guys rock my blog, er, my world. Both. Thank you!

  11. Aww. I'd still write, but I know I wouldn't have learnt, grown or been inspired as a writer the way I am by having my awesome cps to push me.

    I'm happy to be one of your supporters. Always. :)


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