myRVA_lgUntil recently, writing was merely a hobby for me. But after working on Saving Ben for more than two years, I felt compelled to take it a step further, if for no other reason than to validate all the time I spend writing. But I was terrified. Scared to death that no one would like my book.

My faithful friend, Alison Fauls, sensed my hesitation and gave me a gentle shove. Not only did she leak the news on Facebook that I’d written a novel and that Saving Ben was available on Amazon, she also posted this wonderful feature on her fabulous new website, The Gracious Posse. It’s a good thing she did, else I might still be staring at my Amazon page waiting for someone to discover my novel.

I recently had the opportunity to co-chair a leadership symposium at my son’s school with my friend, Ashley. The other Ashley is a person of true grace and dignity, a calming influence to balance my emotional outbursts, but you can imagine how confusing it was to have two Ashleys chairing the same event. “The Ashleys,” the folks at school called us. Even to this day, people still get us confused. The week after my novel was released, Ashley called to tell me that several people had mentioned they were reading her book. Naturally, she corrected them, but I said to her, “No! Let them think you wrote it. Then they can blame you when they don’t like it.”

We shared a good laugh, but the funny thing is, I was only half-joking.

I soon realized that whether they like my novel or not—or whether they even read it—isn’t the point. My friends in the Richmond community are supporting me because I am one of them, and that is the only validation I need for my hard work.

What exactly is a community? A group of people living in the same neighborhood or geographical location. A group of people with the same political or religious affiliation. A group of parents supporting one another in raising their children. A group of people grieving together like the families of the Shady Hook Elementary School tragedy. A group of friends rallying around you, encouraging you in your endeavors, successful or otherwise.

As I’d always hoped it would, Chronicles is becoming a community of writers, encouraging and supporting one another in all areas of our craft. With the Write-A-Thon nearly behind us, I plan to turn my attention to developing our community, to finding ways we can share our ideas, our knowledge, and our experiences. While hosting the Write-A-Thon has been great fun, I have neglected my WIP. For me to manage my writing and my family, at least for the immediate future, I need to reduce my postings to three or four times a week. Please e-mail me with your ideas and your feedback at


What does community mean to you?


7 thoughts on “Community

  1. Where I live, there isn’t a real sense of geographic community. For me, my community are my friends and close affections, the people I share with. I was recently offered an ad honorem job working at a library on Saturday mornings, that will be a British reading community for me… one that exists and I belong to.
    I would love to belong to a community of world-wide writers where I can share and learn and rant about a mischievous character or not knowing how to express an idea or describe a scene. I think that would be amazing and you, Ashley Farley, can count me in. No confusing you with the other Ashley here, 🙂

  2. My eyes get misty when I think about community, particularly the Richmond community. If you are ever in a crisis, there’s no better place than RVA to have it. Need some fun? Look no further. We are big enough so that our family trees have many branches, but small enough to care for each other.

  3. I’m lucky enough to have several friends who are also writers. I know I can turn to them for advice or just to vent, which is great. I also met quite a few writers in my area through NaNoWriMo and we all keep in touch through a Facebook group and a Twitter hashtag. Now I have you all to add to my writing community! For me, community means people I can turn to for advice, or whose blog posts/tweets/Facebook posts I can read and feel a connection.

      • Sure! I was lucky enough to have an awesome Municipal Liaison (she’s actually how I found out about your write-a-thon!) who started the Facebook group and Twitter hashtag, but I’m sure other areas have similar groups. When you join the NaNoWriMo site, I believe it asks you for your region. Once you’ve entered your region, you can mouse over the “NaNo Near You” tab at the top of the site, and it will show your region. When you click that, it takes you to your region’s forum, where you can chat with other WriMos in your area. But you can also find people to connect with in the general forums, too.

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