Friday, November 1, 2013

Landing in the Pens Pot

Since this is my first post as a member of the PensFatales, I thought I would share a little bit about what it means to me to have writing friends. It’s not just the opportunity to take part in projects like LOVE ON MAIN STREET: A SNOW CREEK CHRISTMAS - although it was a blast to create characters who interact with the fictional world we all created, like a virtual playgroup.

For a long time I wrote in a vacuum. I attended meetings of a writers’ organization, but I was too unsure of myself to get to know anyone well. I would pretend to take notes in my notebook rather than push myself to join in conversations, and while I learned a lot from the speakers who visited our group, I wasn’t really building a community.

Then I moved from the Midwest to California, rolled up my sleeves, and got a little braver. Now, I enjoy the friendship of other writers for so many reasons:

1. Someone to tell you that you don’t suck - I’ll never forget the first time I heard a friend say that it’s okay if my first draft isn’t any good. “None of them are,” she said casually. “You’re breaking a rule if it is good.”

This isn’t the same thing as propping each other up. In the end, confidence has to come from within. But it sure is nice to have those occasional reminders that just because I had a bad sentence or scene or day, it’s not the end of the world and all I have to do is keep trying.

2. Someone to brainstorm with - I used to think that I didn’t have anything to offer writers who weren’t working in exactly the same genre as me. Imagine my surprise when an author of BDSM romance identified exactly the change I needed to make to my sweet romantic hero to make the story arc work.

I love brainstorming. I often don’t have the answer for someone else’s story quandary - but I might have a part of the answer. It’s wonderful when we get a group together, and there’s talking and laughing and lots of coffee, and suddenly a light bulb goes off over our heads.

3. Someone to celebrate with - One of the Pens just got a new-to-her car. I was quick to ooh and ah over the pictures, since I got a new car a year ago and I still remember how thrilling it was to drive it for the first time. A fun night out? A child’s accomplishment? A tax refund? No matter what, it’s more fun when there are lots of us to cheer.

Of course we celebrate publishing successes as well. First manuscript completed? Check. First novel available to purchase? Yes! The Pens have so many flavors of success between them: everything from trying new genres to figuring out how to e-publish to hitting bestseller lists. A book signing? We’re there to support each other. A good review? We’re there to praise the good taste of the reviewer!

4. Someone who “gets it” - You know that little melancholy feeling you get, about a day after you celebrate typing “the end”? Because the story is over, and the characters you love are going back to the shelf, and you have to say goodbye?

If you’re a writer, you totally know what I’m talking about! I cherish my non-writing friends, but there is something lovely about someone completely understanding when your friend misses her dentist appointment because she’s too wrapped up in her story and lost track of time, or spent more on research books than groceries in a week.

I could go on, but you get the picture: it was a lucky day indeed when I got rolled up in the awesome that is the PensFatales and sprinkled with their can-do magic. So happy to be here!


Lisa Hughey said...

Ruby--I've been lost in the land of sickness so I didn't comment on this when it came out, but we are SO HAPPY you are here :) We need to celebrate! ;)

Mysti Berry said...

Another thing I'm thankful for, the warm, enthusiastic, supportive writers here at Pens and across the planet. #Lucky!

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