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It ain’t solitary confinement

I’ll be at World Fantasy in San Diego this week (see my schedule at bottom), and will be looking to do some business. But mostly, I’m going to see friends.

I hope, having said that, that I will not lose my membership in Introverts Anonymous.

Thing is, in this business you need a little help from your friends. Writing is a solitary endeavor, but it’s not solitary confinement. It’s hard to have a big success in this field, but working harder won’t necessarily make that happen. Actually, it’s far likelier to happen if you build a support group to help you stay balanced and achieve perspective.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that to be a writer you mostly have to hunker down and write. You do, of course, have to write. But you also have to survive the slings and arrows of a very tough business. For this, there is nothing like a friend.

If possible, a very close friend. A best pal can anchor you in the writing life, providing:

  1. Advice and problem-solving.

  2. A friendly ear when one hits bottom.

  3. Someone who’ll applaud you without (too much) envy when a success comes.

  4. A  companion for conferences and signings.

  5. A mirror to your own writing life, to give perspective.

  6. Source of laughs, gossip, and wisdom.

  7. Dependable guerrilla marketing and cross-promotions with you.

Don’t have a writing buddy? Take a class, go to a workshop, attend a convention. Invite someone to lunch. Start a critique group and invite interesting writers. You can’t force a friendship, but you can put yourself in the way of them.

After World Fantasy I’ll be spending a week in southern California with two writer friends. One is a friend of long-standing, the other is a good friend of hers who then became a good friend of mine. Funny how these things happen. And funny how they mean more than you might guess. We think that to be an author one must have insanely good concepts, write the hell out of them and run into a spot of publishing luck. (All true.) But after the books, the marketing, the angst and the victories we are still left with our inner world and the people we know and love. So go forth and cultivate friends.

Some of them may be at that next writers’ conference.

Here’s where I’ll be at World Fantasy Convention:

Friday, 11:00 am: But I’m the Hero! Justifications for Villainy – Pacific 1

Friday, 8:00 p.m. – Autograph session – Town and Country

See you there.


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