About a year and a half ago I attended a l seminar on self-publishing hosted by Saturday Writers, a chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to hear the information that was being presented since I was nowhere near done with my book. But my wife urged me to go so I paid my fee and went. I’m glad I did.
“Writers Encouraging Writers” is the tag line for the group, and it was encouraging to be surrounded by a room full of current and prospective authors. It was interesting to hear about the travails of self-publishing. But most importantly, it was nice to know that I wasn’t alone. Here were a couple dozen people asking the same questions I had, relating some of the same experiences and feelings that I’ve had while working on this book. One woman shared her account of participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and then admitted that it took a couple of years before she was able to reach the 50,000 word goal. I didn’t speak up then, but I remember being surprised that someone else had followed the exact same path to where I was.
The point is, when it comes time to network with other writers, don’t be afraid to meet them and open up about your own journey. There is a very good chance that you will meet at least one author with a similar tale to tell. If I’m being honest, I haven’t been honest – with myself, or the other writers that I’ve met. Writing is an intensely personal endeavor and requires making oneself vulnerable. It’s almost like dating in that building relationships is not always easy and we all have a fear of rejection. Will that other person like me? Or the real worry – will they like my story?
I am not yet comfortable letting my guard down. But I understand that I need to be. Sharing a part of oneself with total strangers is what writers do.