I’ve been a member of several writing communities for a while now. I’ve been a part of several critique groups, both in person and online. The local chapter of the NaNoWriMo participants is the big one that springs to mind, however. And I just helped start the Samurai Scribes – a new kind of open commune for writers in all stages of working towards publication.
The Samurai Scribes is just in its infancy, but we’re working towards a goal of cross-promotion as well as self-promotion for our own works, but also towards creating a sort of online community with access to resources and friendly faces right there all in one place. Not all of us are published. Some of us haven’t even got a single manuscript ready for much else outside of MORE revisions. Some of us have screenplays and no novels. Whatever. That doesn’t matter because we’re an open group based on mutual respect and open communication. We work under the idea that we are all on the same path, though not everyone walks that path the same way. It’s about the journey as much as it is the destination — what worked for me may not work for you and vice versa.
But I’m a little bit off-topic here.
What becomes truly important is understanding your own pace.
I have been writing forever, ever since I was little. I decided at 13 years old that I was going to be a professional writer and make a living off of it.
13 years later, I’m still trying to make a living off of it. And that’s perfectly okay.
I have gotten to a point where I am no longer satisfied with going to meet-ups and writing in cafes with a group of friends. I am no longer satisfied by editing draft after draft. I have surpassed many of the people in the groups I am or was affiliated with, in my opinion. I feel that I have learned all that I can from interacting with certain people, and that’s all right.
I’ve hit the point where I need to move on from wishing and speculating and drafting and revising. I’ve hit the point where it’s time to get “serious”. (Ha! Me, serious. But you know what I mean, I assume.)
It’s only taken me 13 years of working my ass of to learn and improve and get comfortable with my craft and with my style and my voice for me to get here. It’s only taken me being rejected, torn down, almost giving up and going to flip burgers for a living (which I may yet still have to do, but that is neither here nor there) crushed and despairing for me to grow enough to understand that there is no real magic trick to “making it” as a writer.
There are methods and shortcuts and ways to manipulate the system, and most of these have actually cropped up in the past few years while I perfected my mind and my craft.
The point is that there is always more to learn, always more to do. Just because Jane so-and-so is ready to query her 300k word book, doesn’t mean that she is what the publishing houses and agents are looking for. She may be ready to take that step, but her craft may not be ready to carry her all the way.
If I’m gonna be honest, my words may not be ready to carry me all the way, but I’m ready to take the next step in getting my work “out there”. And I have found the community and strength to help keep my spirits up as I go.
And if you’re curious, come check out The Samurai Scribes. We will welcome you with open arms.