"Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer."
~Jessamyn West, writer
Landing my book contract wasn't a solo act.
I don't agree with Jessamyn West
putting a "Wanted" poster on anyone who might interrupt her writing life. Yes, there are times when it's just me and my work-in-progress (WIP). But I'm surrounded by family and friends who helped me achieve my writing dreams. And I thank God for each and every one of them. For brevity's sake, I'll focus on the other writers I've met along the writing road.
|Roxanne and Me |
Three years ago, I had this secret. I was writing fiction--and no one except my husband knew. And then one day I called my longtime friend and writing buddy Roxanne Sherwood
and confessed, "I'm writing a novel." She didn't laugh. Didn't gasp and say, "You can't do that! You write nonfiction."
Nope. Roxanne cheered me on. Told me I could do this. She even volunteered to read my first feeble attempts at telling Allison's and Daniel's story, helping me improve each scene.
|Fiction Critique Group: Mary, Me, Donita and Evangeline|
The next person I whispered my secret to was bestselling author Donita K. Paul
, a fellow Colorado Springs resident and friend. She surprised me by inviting me to join a critique group with her, her daughter Evangeline Denmark
(also an author), and Mary Agius
, another writer. They were the first ones to read my novel aloud. They pretended not to notice when I sat on the couch during the first meeting and shook--literally shook--while Donita read the first five pages of my story.
|The MBT Ponderers|
And then I met award-winning author Susan May Warren
at an ACFW conference
. Fast-forward to the first MBT Storycrafters Retreat
, where I learned the fundamentals of story and tore my novel apart. Romantic suspense became contemporary romance. Fifty thousand words downsized to twenty thousand. Suz answered my unspoken prayer for assurance when she looked at me and said, "You can so write fiction!"
I also met the Ponderers
--eighteen women from all over the country who bonded over writing. (And that's another blog post
These are the writers--the women I am humbled to call friends--who helped me turn burnout
into an amazing dream come true.
Talk about beauty from ashes.
|Rachel, Me and Suz|
So while Jessamyn West may insist on solitary confinement to write, I choose to embrace the amazing community God's provided for me. I'm a better writer for it--I've found a place where I'm accepted and where my dreams flourished.
Labels: Beth K. Vogt, community, Donita K. Paul, Evangeline Denmark, Mary Agius, Rachel Hauck, Roxanne Sherwood, Susan May Warren, the Ponderers, writing relationships