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|
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?