I’ve recently read a few articles, on the internet, that talk about whether or not writers should join networking groups, critique groups, writers forums, etc. Since I own a writing forum, I am curious and interested in these things. I have begun to wonder some whether or not joining a writers forum, if I didn’t own one, would be the right thing for me to do. I think there are many who use forums as an escape from writing, rather than a place to learn about writing. I suppose that’s OK, if and only if the writer keeps writing.
Another thing I’ve noticed is this: there aren’t a lot of best selling authors on writers forums. Whether that is by design or intention, I do not know. I mean, if a writer makes it big, do they simple resign from all forums and their presence among the lowly unpublished or woefully underpublished amongst us becomes a bane? If you became a best-selling author, would you still participate in writing forums? I wonder if, perhaps, its telling though. I mean, if I were a best selling author—and I am, the sales just haven’t caught up with the potential yet, is all, you see—then I guess I wouldn’t necessarily want my struggling beginning out there on a forum for the world to see.
Perhaps, then, it’s best to join a forum with a name other than the one you will choose to publish under. Pen names. I don’t know. I understand the concept, and yet, it still feels… strange. I use a pen name, but that pen name became my real name, my legal name to use contractually. It protects my privacy, keeps people from knowing where I live, among other things, and lets me get better Google placement. You see, my real last name (the one I had when I started writing but don’t have anymore) was way too close to an infamous celebrity who is now dead.
I’ve never had any problem being able to write, so ideas, suggestions, prodding, pushing, encouragement to write—those things aren’t necessary. I’ve been known to write an entire page before just on the way the creamer looks as it swirls into the coffee early in the morning. Words don’t fail me. I have, on occassion, failed them, but they have never failed me. The love affair with words is not one-sided, but it is a little bit lopsided, to be sure.
One article I read said that writing is a solitary endeavor, so joining a writer forum is a way to share with others who understand. Strangely, I prefer to write in that solitude. The best writing comes from when I find that place inside of myself and shut the rest of the world down and exist, perfectly in time and space, inside that capsule that is my writing universe. Bringing someone into that would be, to me, like a sweet innocent virgin on a wedding night video taping the deed live before a studio audience. It would spoil it. It would make it something ugly and somehow unnatural. I don’t want someone watching me go to the toilet and I sure don’t want someone watching me while I write. I like the aloneness of it.
I don’t want to share my writing with anyone in the raw stages either. That’s like a body builder going out on stage without slicking on the oil and wearing the little underwear. That’s like a supermodel walking the runway without any makeup or foundation garments. That’s like superman flying around without his cape. I mean, they all are great for what they are, but they are unfinished, incomplete, unwhole. Just not as good. While I am not the type of person who must have every hair in place, every last wrinkled ironed from my attire (in fact, some days, I can be quite sloppy), I am meticulous about my writing. Every dot must be perfect; every word must be exact, before anyone will see it. I’m getting better at this, but I’m not there yet.
As for social interaction, I think there are a lot of authors who are inept at social interaction. I was once told that one must be able to interact with others, to socialize, to be amongst humans in order to write about human nature. I was informed that isolating myself wouldn’t allow me to write properly on the human condition. I disagree. I think one of the reasons so many successful authors are a little ‘off’, socially inept, or recluses, is not because they don’t understand the human condition but rather they understand it far too well.
There isn’t anything that, when enough light is shined on it in all the dark places, doesn’t have a spot of ugly to it. Human beings certainly aren’t exempt from that.
So for now, in silence I write, in quiet I create, and I will share that when the universe and all in it decided the time is right. Will I join a writing forum? Sure. I already have. I participate in my own forum and others too, though not nearly as much as Accentuate Writers Forum. I can see the definite potential, if for no other reason than to learn the pitfalls and what not to do while discovering what works.
But I will not participate at the exclusion of doing what I am meant to do: write.
When I hit that best-selling book, I hope to delight at least a small handful of forums on the internet who can say, “Hey, wasn’t that the writer who signed up here awhile back?” Then maybe they can say, “Join Our Forum! Home to Best-Selling Author Michelle Devon!”
Now that would be fine.
Of course, I sure wouldn’t mind saying that about YOU on our forum either, so you need to get started writing that best-selling novel, please. Thanks.
Love and stuff,