Sunday, August 8, 2010
Writers Get By With a Little Help From Their Friends by Karin Gillespie
When I made the decision to quit teaching and be a fulltime writer, I wondered if I’d have a problem staying at home by myself, talking to no one except the dog. Would I lose all my social skills? Would I end up being one of those people muttering to themselves, slapping at imaginary flies, and making homemade bombs in my basement?
Also, as a teacher, every Friday afternoon, my colleagues and I would peel out of the parking lot to head to a nearby Longhorn for a couple of cold ones. As a fulltime writer, who was I going to drink and commiserate with? At the time, I was the only novelist within fifty miles.
It didn’t take me long to start reaching out to other writers, a task made easier by the Internet. I joined a now-defunct community for readers and writers called Readerville. I’m sure my puppyish exuberance over being a newly pubbed author was extremely annoying, but the writers there were very patient with me. No one tried to squelch my enthusiasm by saying, “Wait until your novel hits the remainder bin, kiddo.” They allowed me to believe that my publishing experience would live up to all my dizzying, golden daydreams.
Later, when it became clear I needed to make efforts to promote my books, I again reached out to a community of authors, this time women writers. I started the Girlfriend Cyber Circuit, a virtual tour of thirty women writers. That was five years ago when blog tours were still a novelty. Our purpose was to promote member's books, but we also functioned as a support system for each other. If a girlfriend emailed the group saying, “Help I need to find another agent” or “who’s the best website designer?” within minutes (sometimes seconds; many writers are compulsive e-mail checkers), her inbox would be stuffed with suggestions.
After blogging daily for several years, I got burned out. To cut down on my blogging, I decided to start a group blog (or grog as it’s sometimes known) with Southern writers, many whom I'd met at regional book fairs and other author events. That’s how A Good Blog Is Hard to Find was born. Nearly everyone who I invited said, “Yes. I want to be a part.”
I loved the blog, mentioned it to everyone I knew, and even included the address on my author postcards. It’s been a great three-year run for me. When I sent out the email saying I was ending the blog, I was humbled by all the sweet emails my fellow bloggers sent me. I thought maybe I’d made a mistake, but then Kathy Patrick swooped in to resuscitate the blog and sprinkle it with her special brand of fairy dust. I was thrilled. This blog obviously meant a lot to many people, and I’m glad it’s not going to die.
Thanks for being part of this big Southern family, bloggers and readers alike. Thanks to wonderful people like you, I’ve been writing fulltime for eight years and have yet tomake a single homemade bomb.
P.S. I’ll still be around, blogging with the rest of you, but instead of being the queen bee, I’ll be a dutiful drone.