Hey guys- I have a huge ginormous exam of doom tomorrow related to graduate school (which, incidentally, is done in nine weeks. not that I’m counting) so my lovely friend Rena agreed to come over and chat with y’all in my absence. Enjoy!
(Also, hugs, well wishes, and virtual desserts would be much welcomed)
Rena: Hello! And welcome to this very special episode of “INSIDE RENA’S BRAIN.” Don’t be scared. Just go with it.
Seriously though, folks, I’m filling in here for Jamie while she does important real life things, and when I was trying to decide which topic to cover, it seemed pretty obvious.
Are you ready?
Are you sure?
When I started writing seriously again a couple years ago, it was a pretty solitary activity. People could expect me to disappear for days, and, like a bear coming out of hibernation, when I emerged I was often hungry and cranky (and hairy, but that’s an entirely different issue). The problem was, even though I had lots of people who loved me dearly, and supported my writing habit, they didn’t understand the strange and intricate workings of a writer’s brain.
My first writing contact when I decided to take a leap and be serious was kind of a flop. Really enthusiastic, but then I wouldn’t hear anything for months. I credit her with that push to go for it, and for a framework for the process, but as far as support goes…eh.
Writing is still a solitary activity for me for the most part, but there’s a gigantic, huge, wonderful difference in my attitude toward writing now. A big part of the change was my discovery of Twitter. Now my real life people really think I’m strange because I have all these friends who I talk about but have never met, and this time they aren’t the imaginary ones in my head (mostly).
So what changed? The writing community on Twitter is A+MAZING. Like, for real. I’m guessing a huge chunk of those reading this realize how awesome our community is. I’ve been able to connect with people across the globe, and have more real conversations about life and writing than I am able to with people I have known for years.
They understand when I talk about my characters as if they’re real, because they have people living in their heads too! They understand that I don’t have full control over them. They understand when I just completely freak out over a page or a chapter or an entire storyline. They laugh with me when I’m feeling goofy, they celebrate with me when there’s good news, and they cry with me when I’m feeling down or lonely or rejected. THEY GET ME.
So how do you find these lovely people? Well, first, if you haven’t JOIN TWITTER. And this is the really important step…INTERACT WITH PEOPLE. I was on Twitter for two years and just sorta lurked. Because how could I interact with people I didn’t know? How awkward! Except…it’s not. I entered Pitch Madness last summer, and gathered legions of new minionsfriends to me. We fretted about the results together, cheered each other on, consoled each other when we didn’t make it, congratulated those who did. I got some wonderful CPs out of the deal, and the rest is history. Just JUMP IN. It’s amazing how easy it becomes.
Without the Twitter writing community and their support, I don’t think I would have finished my last couple of books. I certainly wouldn’t be working on sekrit projects with fabulous friends, and I absolutely wouldn’t be writing this blog entry. You, Twitter…you are the wind beneath my wings…
There is a caution in here though. You know that song that goes, “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold!!!”? Well. There is always a balance, and that is something I struggle with. Especially through this cold cold winter, my inclination has been to fall into the world of my online buddies and stay in my cave and away from people with whom I might have to wear pants. (I have an aversion to pants.) But it is SO IMPORTANT to maintain those real life friendships, especially the ones that have NOTHING TO DO WITH WRITING. (GASP I KNOW!)
Why shouldn’t writing be on your mind 24/7? Well, I would argue that if you write, ideas are constantly percolating in the back of your mind. But if you’re actively seeking inspiration and ideas, the brain starts to be constipated. My best ideas have always come when I was doing something completely random, and with people who just gave me the crazy eyes when I shouted, “That’s it! I’ve got it!” and grabbed them to do a happy dance. It’s like watching the stars at night. The ones that are the brightest are those you see out of the corners of your eyes.
So. Twitter. Balance. Dancing. Pants. That’s it. You’re welcome. (And don’t worry…Jamie will be back soon!)