Monday, October 15, 2012

The Writing Community

Warning - I'm not witty at the best of times but this post rates 98% on the sappy factor.

This post isn't particularly about writing per se, but I wanted to write a post that talked about the online writing community in general.

I haven't been blogging for very long, it's really only been a couple of months since I started this blog and I still haven't told any of my friends or family about it yet. Mostly when I start a new blog, I tell people I know about it and get everyone to follow me, but my writing.... at the moment it's something I don't feel ready to share just yet. It's like it's my "dirty little secret" - just kidding ... but not really. One day I'll definitely tell them my blog exists, but it's almost like I need to prove to myself that I can really make a go at being a writer first.

There are very few people who I have told that I'm writing, and even fewer know about the plot of my WIP. A couple of people who have known me for a long time laughed when I told them I was writing a book.  I'd never really talked about my desire to write to them in the past, and because I'm not one of those authors who has been walking around with a notepad and pen since I was old enough to stand up, people didn't believe me when I said I wanted to be a writer. I have to say, it was quite disheartening to see people who know me so well laugh at the prospect of me working on a novel. It got to the point where I was embarrassed to tell people that I wanted to spend the next year focusing on my writing because I didn't want them to think I was a hopeless dreamer.

It is true that any desire I had to write had been kept under wraps most of my life. I didn't talk about it much, any writing that I did was channeled into other mediums like blogs, magazine articles, reviews, newspaper articles, school essays and the occasional short story here and there... I always loved writing, particularly creative writing, I just didn't figure there was any point in pursuing it because, quite frankly, I thought I was rubbish. I channeled all my energy into performance - singing, dance and drama - until I decided I was rubbish at them as well!

It wasn't until I was stuck in a horrible, dead end job which was going no where that I decided I really wanted a job that would let me write. I remember a conversation to my mother where I literally just whined about how all I wanted to do was write. My mum then mentioned something about me writing a novel. I'd never even considered the possibility of writing a book. I don't know why I hadn't thought of it sooner because writing a novel would really be a combination of everything I love. I really try and make a conscious effort to focus on the things that make me happy in life, by doing what I love to do. This mentality gave me the final push to just go ahead and give it a try. While I have lived with this mentality for quite some time, I recently saw this video, which is quite inspiring, which might better help explain my 'seize the day' and 'do what you love' frame of mind.

Anyway, the whole point of this post was to talk about the writing community. When I started this blog I had no readers (I still don't think I have any regular readers, but it's nice to know my blog gets viewed by eyes other than my own from time to time)! After I started this blog I discovered a whole new part of cyberspace within the 'online writing community'. While I started reading a lot of other blogs written both by individuals and groups, one of my favourite places to check into regularly quickly became YA Highway. Aside from the great posts that are put up every few days, I love their weekly blog hop. Being able to discover new blogs and writers, and seeing everyone's answers to the weekly questions is my favourite part of the week. It is when the more personalized answers come out that the writing community has really given me 'warm fuzzies'. The questions that talk about aspects of our book or our future plans has always really surprised me. I certainly wasn't expecting the writing community to be so incredibly, unquestioningly supportive and lovely. It's really blown me away, and the comments I get on this blog really make me smile.

I'm kind of a 'blog noob' and can't always figure out how to follow people... in fact I've only just figured out how to schedule posts and imbed YouTube videos (oh the shame), but I'm working on figuring it out (I get the ones that say 'google connect' but after that I'm stumped... help?!) because all the other writers blogs I've been reading on here have really impressed me and I've learned so much from this community.

**update - I've FINALLY figured out how to put the 'followers' section in there. I always wondered why it was never showing up.... and here I was thinking I was tech savvy!**

So I just wanted to write a quick (well I intended it to be quick but it's actually rather long) post about how thankful I am to the writing community for being your amazing selves, for the lovely post comments (I will never, ever stop loving the awesome blog post comments) and for being all around awesome. The support I receive from others in the writing community really encourages me to be proud about my writing, to not want to keep it a secret, and encourages me to keep going. It fuels my love and passion for the written word and it inspires me to reach higher than I ever thought possible. I'm excited about talking more to all the amazing writers on here, learning from them and supporting them in their own endeavors.


  1. This was such an encouraging post! I really relate to what you’ve said here. Like you, I’ve barely told anyone about my blog and the fact that I’m writing. It’s a very personal thing to pour yourself into a novel and a lot of people just don’t understand that. Most think it’s a pipe dream, like real authors are mythical creatures and you couldn’t possibly be one of them. Even if I did get published, the thought of those people actually reading what I’ve written terrifies me. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one! Good luck and I hope you continue to be excited about your writing!

    1. Thank you so much Erin! Such kind words. I agree, it's like exposing a large portion of ourselves when we write and to even declare that we're working on a novel is opening up a big part of ourselves. And you're right, there is this perception that it's a pipe dream... luckily my parents always encouraged my sister and I to follow our dreams. I guess that's why we've both ended up chasing dreams most people would tell us to forget about. You're definitely not the only one feeling like that, it's nice to know others can relate!

  2. I have to echo Erin here: what an encouraging and heartfelt post! I, too, feel like I can really relate to what you've written here. I was never one of those people who was writing all the time. And like you, my writing usually ended up coming out in such things as essays (really fun stuff...right). Somewhat recently I decided I wanted to attempt writing a book, and so I gave it a whirl and now I've finished a whole story!

    I remember telling someone that I was trying to get published and she replied that it was next to impossible to do. Nice. I also have had people excited for me when I tell them I've written a book only to have their excitement diminish when I mention that it's YA. Also nice. BUT I've found so much encouragement and support through the online writing community and that more than makes up for these other reactions.

    All I can say is, keep at it! Keep being excited about it and remember that we're all plugging away too. :)

    1. Thanks so much Jaime! It's really nice to know that I'm not an abnormality realizing my dream later than most! It's really encouraging for me as well to hear you've finished a whole story! Congratulations, that's so exciting! And while some may scoff at YA, there's even more who have a soft spot for the genre.

      You keep at it too - I can't wait for the post that says Watch of Night has been picked up by a publisher!!

  3. Thank you for sharing your writing story with us, Samantha. You are certainly not alone in your hesitancy to share your writing dreams with people. Writing is one of those things that people find hard to believe you can make a living at until you are actually making a living at it. Music and drama fall into the same category, at least in my experience. If you wanted to be a rocket scientist, you'd be encouraged to go to school, get the necessary education, get an internship at NASA, etc. But you say you want to be a published writer, and people either laugh, or pat your head and say "that's nice dear."

    The problem is, people assume you want to be J.K. Rowling, when in fact most of us would be happy if our writing just paid the bills and put food on the table. I'm not sure what we can do to break that perception, but the place to start, I think, is self-confidence. Write. Love your writing. Post some flash fiction, enter some online writing contests, get some positive feedback. Get the support of your significant other, your family, those whose opinion you trust. Then you can let people laugh, knowing that *you* know you can do it. And one day, those laughing will be lining up at the local bookstore for you to sign your bestseller for them. :)

    Welcome to the writing community. We're all the better for having you. :)

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment, Colin! These comments really mean a lot! I agree with everything you said, people aren't as accepting when you proclaim that's what you want to do, but it's the support of the writing community that really gives us that confidence boost to keep pursuing our goals. It really surprised me actually. There's no cattiness or jealousy - instead it's supportive and loving, and really, what more could we want! I love it!