There are many ‘ironical’ things about writing. A surface cursory glance tells the observer that it is a solitary venture. I know that there some authors out there who write as a team, but for the most part, those of us who write, do it alone. The truth, however, it that writing is much less a solitary venture that it first appears. Sure, as I write this, or my short stories, or novels, or poetry, or essays I am placing my fingers on the keys and I am putting my thoughts into pixels that will be saved onto this blog or that doc or the other pdf and I am clicking save. But when I finally get enough pixels and characters and words together to create a book or an article, this begins a long road of others who are every bit as important to the final outcome as I am. These include editors and agents, publishers, printers, illustrators, booksellers and, of course, readers.
And while writers may not think we need other writers – and, in fact, we could do this crazy avocation of ours completely isolated from our kinfolk – we grow exponentially when we meet and connect. When we share our knowledge and experience and frustrations and joys.
This weekend I had one of those precious opportunities to share with other authors. The Federation of BC Writers hosted a workshop on publishing and self-publishing. The four speakers shared on the Vancouver Island Public Library Story Lab with its Espresso Book Machine, on publishing with traditional publishers and finding an agent, on working with an editor and on the difficulties and advantages of self-publishing.
While all of these were important, and I will post more about them later, what was most important for me was to talk with other writers – some published, others brand new. There is power in the feeling of being recognized by others of your kind. There is comfort and comradery in commiserating with the kin and kind who struggle the same way you do.
I spent 7 hours listening, discussing, and chatting with other writers and when the day was done I left energized and filled with ideas and strategies and hope. And, believe me, for a writer, these are the very best kinds of currency out there.