Assemble Your Team

In General, Musings on May 19, 2010 at 3:14 am

In the past year of working on my novel, which I am STILL working on, and probably will be until it arrives at that miraculous place known as “right” or “done” I have been beautifully reminded of the need for other writers.

Because writing is a solitary act, I think many of us writers start to believe it HAS to be solitary–that we aren’t allowed to join forces, that we shouldn’t muck up our process by inviting others into it. Some have competitive issues. Some don’t know where to find other writers. But let me tell you: if you try to do it alone, you will…be…lonely. By “it” I mean every stage of the game. If you’re a new, struggling writer just working on a first draft, quite possibly the loneliest kind because everything ahead of you is uknown and dark and seems so far away, you NEED people to carry you forward.

If you are close, perhaps you have an agent or maybe even your first book deal, you need people to remind you that you’re good enough and deserve this, and that all those changes your agent/editor wants you to make are for the best good of your work.

If this is your fifth or eighteenth novel, you need people to remind you why you wake up every morning and put words to paper when it feels like drudgery, or when it scares you, or when you can’t even remember writing those other 18 novels and you STILL feel like a fraud about to be exposed.

The point is: you need a team, maybe a small 1-2 person team, or a huge network-wide one of supporters, constructive critics, and cheerleaders. These people will talk you down off ledges, will comb through your twenty-fifth draft as though it was your first, will hold you when you cry, and brag about you when you succeed. Maybe you will be lucky enough to have one such person, or maybe you have ten. If you have none yet, get on it.

Writers only pretend to be loners. Truthfully, we need each other desperately.


  1. you had me at hello ;o)…
    I am so honored and grateful to count you as one of mine.

  2. Me, too, sistah 🙂 Me, too.

  3. This is why I love Twitter… it’s a great resource for keeping up with other writers, and meeting new folks who are on the same journey.

  4. I agree, India!

  5. I agree 100%, but with one caveat: You need the RIGHT people on your team. Nothing’s worse than getting sucked into the orbit of a mad-at-the-world writer whose bitterness and cynicism sabotages the efforts of everyone around them. (Yikes!) That being said, we all do need other people. Walter Jon Williams told me that before the internet, he felt like he was trying to invent the novel-writing process on its own. It’s never easy. So embrace your fellow writers — but if someone pings your Spidey-sense, run! Save yourself!

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