Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Rewards of Being a Stalker, Or, What Happens When You Get Off the China Cabinet

I'm not Catholic, but I always experience a Catholic amount of guilt when things are going my way.

The passivity of that sentence belies how much space I put between myself and my successes--"when things are going my way."

The truth is that things don't just go my way. I make things go my way.

I bend the universe to my will. :)

Well, if I'm being terribly honest, it is more of a collaboration of sorts. The universe opens up opportunity, and I work my butt of to take advantage of that opening. In writing, for sure, but also in relationships with other writers.

I always feel guilt when I talk about the wonderful time I had at the NESCBWI conference. I know that not everyone has the opportunity to attend a conference. And I know that not everyone has cultivated the relationships which I have.

Some people are hanging out like this:

And, I get that. It's nice up there. Comfy. There's even a cat bed. One could hide up there and be all cozy, and say, "I don't have time to blog. Being up here, it's better for me just to focus on my writing. I don't need relationships with others to get my writing life to the next level. I'm afraid to put myself out there, and talk to _______ (fill in the blank with your scariest scenerio: an agent, a publisher, another writer, an author)."

At the conference, I met lots of wonderful people, some just starting out in this writing thing, and some from my established writing community. When people asked me how to start their own writing community, I had to think about how things had gotten rolling for me.

What I came up with was that I did a lot of stalking and supporting others. I actively grabbed people who I thought were kindred spirits, and I still spend a lot of time trying to figure out what will help get others to the next level. I never have the time to do everything that I wish I could, but I help when I can. I hope it's enough.

My advice? When you find someone you think is wonderful, stalk them. :)

Invite them to coffee (virtual or otherwise--gchat is a great coffeehouse). Email them. Tell them what you really think of them (people love to hear that you think they are awesome). Be honest. Be respectful. Comment on their blogs. Read their manuscripts.

Spend your time investing yourself into others and their careers.

Because this is awfully hard to do alone.

The proof that this works? I stalked this guy after following the amazing comments he left around the blogosphere. I up and asked this rock star to coffee (IRL) after saying something like, "I know you don't really know me--I'm really not an ax murderer." I asked this lovely lady, and this one, for help when I found it hard to put my butt in the chair. We write together, virtually, and IRL (love the local library). This amazing writer I stalked off of a comment she left on Nathan Bransford's blog. Talk about a needle in a haystack! And, I can't say enough about this brilliant writer, who I've been stalking since before I even started blogging.

We had an unbelievable time at the conference. Me and my stalkees:

Laura, Jennifer, me, Erinn, Ansha, Alicia
Nandini and Alicia

Kris, Laura, Ansha, and Jennifer
Thanks, everyone, for making NESCBWI12 unforgettable! I love you all.

I'm trying not to feel guilty about having such wonderful writers in my corner. Because I have worked hard to make it so. :)

When I get off the cabinet, and put in the hard work to maintain relationships, it feels like this:

Even cozier, right?

So, tell me, do you have any awesome stalking stories? Are you just starting out developing your own community? Were you at the NESCBWI? Have you considered stalking? :) Do you find it hard to get off the china cabinet?


  1. I love those pictures. We had such a great time, didn't we? I mean what's not to love about talking nonstop about writing for 3 days?
    I'm slowly learning to get off the china cabinet and get out there and talk. Sometimes when I do, and put my foot in my mouth, I dwell on it for days. But I get over it and realize without failure there isn't success. And success is having found wonderful writer friends like you, Heather!

  2. Awesome that you had such a good time. I've heard great things about that conference. And it is important to make connections and friendships with other writers.

  3. luckily, all the people i stalked haven't run for the hills yet.

  4. Great pictures, Heather!! It was fun to hang out at the conference. Thanks for fitting me in at the last moment!!

  5. Fun photos, Heather! I love the supportive writing community. So glad I found it! (and I need to do more in person things too with SCBWI!)

  6. Ansha--I put my foot in my mouth at least once in a new social situation. I once told an author that her new book had pages "just the right shade of white." Ridiculous and boring. :) Oh, well.

    Natalie--We had a GREAT time. I would recommend conference going to anyone who can. And there's WriteOnCon for anyone who can't swing one IRL.

    Gina--LOL. I'm sure you are a delightful stalker!

    Nandini--I'm so glad you were able to come! Love that pic with you and Alicia!

    Kelly--I have really gotten a ton out of these SCBWI conferences. Sometimes I forget that there are other things through SCBWI during the year! :)

  7. This was the best conference yet and it had nothing to do with the workshops b/c those are always pretty good. It had to do with volunteering and getting to know people through blogging and then meeting them in person! Great pictures. :)

  8. I've stalked and been stalked. It's great! (But the china cabinet is kind of cool sometimes, too). :)

  9. Aw, who knew stalking could sound so sweet? :-) So glad we've all been mutually stalking each other!

  10. I'm glad you had such a good time! Some day -- I SWEAR -- I'm going to get to a conference! (And not be a wallflower there, too.)

  11. Laura, I agree. It was awesome!

    Anita--Yes. I suppose writers need a healthy balance of sitting on the china cabinet, and stalking. :)

    Anna--Such fun to stalk online. :)

    Dianne--We'd love to have you come to the NE SCBWI conference! What fun we would have!

  12. Nice to meet you--I like your gap post. I am a Neil Gaiman quote fan also.
    Looking forward to meeting you on Tuesday!

  13. cheap prom dresses--that Neil Gaiman quote makes me feel like somehow, we are all in the same boat. And that just because what we create isn't exactly how we imagined it would be, we shouldn't give up just because of that. Thanks for stopping by!