The Lonely Path ain’t always so

Writing is usually a solo affair. We know that. For some, it’s one of the draws, giving us an excuse not to socialise. Personally I tend toward the interactive side, particularly when it comes to writing. It shouldn’t be a surprise that I love to talk about writing, storytelling and general creativity. If I were trying to keep that a secret, this blog wouldn’t be here.

Neither would I have involved myself with NaNoWriMo, and especially not served as an ML for it. Starting the “Writers of the Lost Arc” writing group? Would never have happened.

Turns out I do enjoy it and it’s not limited to my own work.

More than talking about it from a soapbox, I love having conversations about writing. Over the life of Fictioner’s Net, there have been a few people who have commented on the different things I’ve posted (some more than once), and I love it. I love that writers can come together, discuss the different approaches which work for them. Regular comments are wonderful – they really mean so much. There’s a few other people who’ll send through comments through other methods, chats on skype, facebook messages, retweeting or favouriting on Twitter, and they’re generally encouraging. Reading someone say they love reading my updates on my path through writing, or hearing that something I said was helpful to them, that’s just fantastic.

Sometimes you have no idea who’s listening (as it is with the internet in general), to the point you begin to wonder how many are. That in turn leads you to wonder about whether or not you’re getting it right. I have an adequate level of confidence in my writing and am sure I can turn a phrase well, but you often wonder. The writer’s staple until someone says yes, is a steady sequence of no. We expect rejection to be our bread, no matter how much we hope this one time will be different – and that’s when you’ve done so much of the job already. Those that aren’t at that point can look at a writer’s path and see it as a scary, unforgiving one.

That’s the point when we get to learn how close or far we are to having something another would want to read, and up until that point, we’re walking the path alone.

Mixing with other writers is when you get a little insight on the process. Sure, everyone knows that some, many or most writers go through this (in principle), but we’re sure our particular moment of doubt is so much more pronounced than the one other writers go through. I know I’ve been fortunate (I need to stop myself from calling it luck), and 2013 provided some great writing-related experiences for me.

Being a finalist in the Australian Writers’ Centre’s Best Blogs competition came as a massive surprise to me. Looking into the background of the other finalists in my category, there were some serious writing people there that’d been involved in writing circles for a long time. Me, I had uh… well… this place?

Yet there are more balls rolling now. I’ve been invited to be involved with Book Expo Australia, which is happening in August. There’ll be more details on what this entails as it comes, but it’s something. I received media accreditation for the Sydney Writers’ Festival, so will be attending a few more events than I’d originally planned, and I’ll be writing about them on here! If you are based here in Sydney (or visiting from afar) and are going, you can track my movements on Twitter. Being part of the community of writers here and across the internet is a great experience for me, because it really drums the point through – that I’m not really alone in this.

I still don’t know (most of the time) if I’m writing well or if many people enjoy what I have to say, but things like this push my thoughts toward “Maybe I can call myself a writer soon. Maybe even now.

2 thoughts on “The Lonely Path ain’t always so

  1. “The writer’s staple until someone says yes, is a steady sequence of no. We expect rejection to be our bread, no matter how much we hope this one time will be different – and that’s when you’ve done so much of the job already. Those that aren’t at that point can look at a writer’s path and see it as a scary, unforgiving one.”

    Agreed. I’ve only shared my work, really, with close friends and even then I get jitters. Ultimately, though, if you’re serious about writing then no matter how nervous you are about sharing, you understand that it’s necessary. That the goal isn’t for your work to be good right out the gate – that the goal is for your work to become as good as it’s going to get, and that requires criticism and perspective. It’s nice to have a community of writers around that can empathize.

    1. Very true – I love surrounding myself with other writers, and a huge part of that is it’s usually one place where I feel I belong. Knowing others go through the same is a great relief, even if it could be mistaken for schadenfreude at times.

      It’s not that we delight in the pain of others, but knowing it’s there lightens ours.

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