This month has been amazing! I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the support I’ve experienced. I’ve published my first book, visited many schools on a book tour, held a book launch in Vancouver (with another to be held in London, England on Saturday), received great reviews and reader feedback, and expanded my presence on social media.
Everywhere I turn, I’ve received support from my tribe – the friends and family wanting me to be the best I can be.
Writing is often a solitary pursuit. Day after day, I commit words to paper, stealing time in the margins of a busy life. I am a member of #5amwritingclub.
Today I want to pause, and thank the people who have supported, encouraged, and challenged me. Let me introduce my tribe:
1. Writing critique group
Here, I’ve found a close-knit collection of writers who sit down regularly. We read and comment on each other’s work. Challenge each other to overcome whatever is blocking progress – fear of public speaking, social media avoidance, and procrastination over submissions, to name a few.
2. North Shore Writers’ Association
I came to this group via their Dare to be Heard evenings, an open forum where poets, fiction and non-fiction writers read their work to each other. Since then I have attended many of the monthly meetings, and learnt masses from the guest speakers, and fellow writers. I’ve joined the volunteer executive, entered the writing competitions, and now service as Library Liaison. They live up to their mandate of supporting local writers, through education. Check out this group at www.nswriters.org
3. Writers’ Festivals
We all need social connections, and celebrations are a great way to bring communities together. At the 19th North Shore Writers’ Festival three local libraries joined forces to host an amazing weekend with guest speakers, a literary quiz, local book fair, and a reception with music, competition results, and lots of happy chatter.
4. Professional support
Humility is a necessary ingredient for the formation of a tribe – a willingness to listen, and learn. Professional editors, publishers, and agents want writers to be the best they can be at this craft. I return again and again to the same professionals, gradually expanding my network, often from recommendations from other writers.
Maintaining friendships outside the writing community is as important as building connections within it. Our friends help to balance our life, give us perspective, and balance.
Keep your friends close, and family closer. Let them know what writing means to you. My husband, and daughter are my greatest fans, but they also keep me grounded. They remind me not to neglect other parts of my life, and make sure I get enough rest, and recuperation. This in turn means I return to my writing fresh, and ready to work.
Finding my tribe has been about giving. Authors, librarians, editors, booksellers, agents and publishers have all given their time and expertise. In return, I’ve shared my experiences, and volunteered where time allows. Along the road I’ve met with generosity, encouragement, openness, and a willingness to give back.
Where have you found your tribe?