Until 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does community mean to you?