Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Writing Community

clip_image002Today I’m part of a writers’ workshop, similar to this Waldenbooks event from last weekend (I’m at the far left. I’m with my Carolina Conspiracy promotional group…Jim and Joyce Lavene and Terry Hoover are both pictured). I’m in Mint Hill, NC today, at the library there from 10:00—12:00, talking about “Mysterious Characters”.

I spend a lot of time communicating with other writers—both online and in person.

I’ve been genuinely surprised twice in the last week when people have told me at events, “You’re the first writer I’ve ever met!”

To me, we’re everywhere. The writing community is such a huge part of my life that I find it hard to believe we seem elusive to many people.

But then I thought about it. Writers are fairly tribal. Yes, we’re out in the community a bit…at bookstores and libraries. We’re at schools and workshops and writing conferences. Places where writers and readers hang out.

We like to hang out with each other because writing is a solitary and challenging pastime and only other writers (or maybe, serious readers, know what it’s like.)

I don’t even like introducing myself as a writer when I’m with non-writers. I’ll label myself a mom or a stay-at-home mom. I’m uncomfortable meeting people for the first time, and I don’t want to focus attention on myself.

I came out of the writing closet a couple of weeks ago. I was doing a local signing and I thought, “Why the heck not?” I sent out a global email to everyone I regularly saw when volunteering at the school, or volunteering at scouts, or who hosted my children at playdates. I invited them to come to my Barnes and Noble signing.

The response was amazing, really. So many people that I’d been acquainted with for years had no idea that I was a writer. They were completely shocked.

Because I didn’t tell them.

I’m not ever going to be the hard-sell type person. But I’m getting better at acknowledging what I do in a natural way. How many people do know writers, but don’t know they know writers?